Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Members of the Dino Gym that were present at the 2014 Nationals to recieve the Club of the Year Award, (left to right): Al Myers, Dean Ross, Chad Ullom. The award was presented by Mike Murdock (right).

At the USAWA National Championships this summer, the USAWA awarded a Club of the Year for the past year.  I am extremely proud of the members of my Dino Gym for winning the award!  It takes an entire club’s involvement and participation to win this award in our organization.  Runner up went to Habecker’s Gym, ran by the USAWA President Denny Habecker.  These awards were presented by members of last year’s Club of the Year, the Ledaig HA.  Mike Murdock and Logan Kressly had the honors of presenting the awards on behalf of the Ledaig Club.

CLUB OF THE YEAR – DINO GYM

RUNNER CLUB – HABECKER’S GYM

Logan Kressly (left) presenting the Runner Up Club of the Year Award to Denny Habecker (right).

Dino Gym Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Every year the USAWA gives out yearly awards honoring special achievements amongst the membership for the prior year.  This Awards Program began in 2009.  The award recipients are voted on and chosen by the membership with the exception of the Club of the Year.  This award is earned on merit -with points being accrued by participation in the USAWA by each registered club.  I just calculated the club points for all registered clubs in 2013 – and I’m excited to announce the Club of the Year for 2013 is the DINO GYM!  This is a team effort with each club member earning points.  For this I want to congratulate the Dino Gym members: Darren Barnhart, Rudy Bletscher, Scott Campbell, Chuck Cookson, Ben Edwards, Tasha Ullum, Alan English, Mark Mitchell, LaVerne Myers, Molly Myers, Dean Ross, Scott Tully, Brianna Ullum, and Chad Ullom.  Extra points were generated by club participation in the “big meets” by Molly, Bri, LaVerne, Dean, Chad and myself.

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1. One point awarded to the club for EACH USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application. This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.
2. Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup. Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.
3. Three points awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.
4. Four bonus points awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

Habecker’s Gym won the Runner Up spot in the Club of the Year Award.  Despite only having 3 registered gym members (Denny Habecker, Judy Habecker, and Barry Bryan), thru big meet participation and promotion of the 2013 Nationals and 2013 Gold Cup by club leader Denny, they secured a solid second place finish.

Club of the Year Final Standings (Top Five Listed)

1.  Dino Gym – 46 points
2.  Habeckers’s Gym – 28 points
3.  Frank’s Barbell Club - 20 points
4.  Ambridge BBC – 10 points
5. (tie) Clark’s Gym – 7 points
5. (tie) – Jobe’s Steel Jungle

Frank’s Barbell Club came in fourth by being “well rounded” in their point generation, and getting points in all areas. The club had 5 registered members (Frank Ciavattone, Jeff Ciavattone, Colleen Lane, Jessica Hopps, and James Delaney), had participation in the Nationals and Gold Cup by Frank and Colleen, and promoted three meets (including the Heavy Lift Championships).

Ambridge BBC came in fourth – all due to one man! Art Montini was the only one from the Ambridge Club to register membership in the USAWA for 2013, but thru Art’s devotion to the USAWA by participation in Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup, plus promotion of his annual birth day bash he generated all the points himself!

You may notice that the 2012 Club of the Year Ledaig HA is not listed on the above list.  There’s a reason for that – the defending Champ is not eligible the following year.  This was put in place originally as to not allow the same club to win the club of the year award year after year.  The Ledaig HA Club will have the honors of presenting the Club of the Year awards this year at the National Championships during the awards ceremony.

All together there were 13 registered clubs in the USAWA for 2013.  All of these clubs need mentioned as they are the “backbone” of our memberships.  Over 75% of our yearly membership comes with lifters affiliated with a registered club.  The USAWA Clubs for 2013 were: Al’s Dino Gym, Ambridge VFW BBC, Clark’s Championship Gym, Frank’s Barbell Club, Habecker’s Gym, Jackson Weightlifting Club, Joe’s Gym, Jobe’s Steel Jungle, KC Strongman, Ledaig Heavy Athletics, Salvation Army Gym, Schmidt Barbell Club, and M&D Triceratops (owned and operated by the late Dale Friesz).   Making the “TOP FIVE” is a great achievement for any club, and one each USAWA club should strive for!

Dino Gym RD

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman performing a Feet in the Air Bench Press at the 2014 Dino Gym Record Day. Dan set a new record with a lift of 375 pounds!

Last weekend was a full weekend of great lifting at the Dino Gym!  Sunday picked up where Saturday left off with 5 lifters attempting to break/set new USAWA records.  I was surprised to see 3 new faces on Sunday who could not make the Grip Champs – Chad Ullom, Doug Kressly and Logan Kressly.  Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson where the only Saturday lifters who made the full two day competition.

The record day started off strong with Dan setting a new USAWA record in the Bench Press – Feet in Air.  Dan broke a long standing record held by the great Barry Bryan (at 374 lbs. set in 1990) with a lift of 375 pounds. It was a very impressive lift.  Dan then backed it up with a record in the Bench Press – Reverse Grip at 350 pounds.

Ruth lifted fantastic as usual.  She set several new records – with some outstanding lifts in the Vertical Bar Deadlifts. She also completed her official’s practical on this day.  Once the paperwork has been approved – she will be added to the official’s list as a Level One Official.

Chad Ullom picked several of his favorite lifts to set new records in (Arthur Lift, Ziegler Clean, Continental to Belt).  Looked solid and strong as ever!

I was glad to see Doug and Logan back to the gym.  These two made my Dino Challenge in January as well.  Doug upped his teeth lift record from the Dino Challenge, and then helped Logan to many new records.  Logan had some tremendous marks – Fulton Bar Deadlift of 352, Dinnie Lift of 550, and a front squat of 300.  He tried 320 in the front squat, and took it way too deep to recover from. That’s a huge front squat for a young kid only 15!

Overall, a great day for the everyone!!!

My companion in the gym during the meet - Dan's dog Gram - short for Hamilton vom Naglersee.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
February 9th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (1-official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom  In-training Ruth Jackson

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Lifters and Lifts:

Ruth Jackson – 52 years old, 108 lbs. BWT

Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 80 lbs.
Jackson Press: 75 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″: 176 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″: 202 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 187 lbs.
Squat – Front: 120 lbs.

Logan Kressly – 14 years old, 168 lbs. BWT

Squat – Front: 300 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 352 lbs.
Deadlift – Reeves: 155 lbs.
Dinnie Lift: 550 lbs.

Dan Wagman – Open, 184 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 375 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 350 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 300 lbs.
Curl – Cheat, 2 Dumbells: 160 lbs.

Doug Kressly – 34 years old, 286 lbs. BWT

Teeth Lift: 179 lbs.

Chad Ullom – 42 years old, 255 lbs. BWT

Ziegler Clean: 182 lbs.
Teeth Lift: 200 lbs.
Arthur Lift: 220 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 440 lbs.
Snatch – On Knees: 115 lbs.

My Plate Collection

by Al Myers

The plate collection in the Dino Gym.

I’ve never been much of a collector – I’ve always thought why get something to just look at and not use?  However, I do have a plate collection in the Dino Gym from several different weightlifting plate manufacturers.  This collection started several years ago when my buddy Thom gave me a few different types of plates in one of our “topper gift” exchanges.  It contained mostly 1-1/4 and 2 1/2 pound plates.  Since then I’ve added to this collection.   Most of these plates were made by “iron casters” that are no longer in business – which makes them so unique and special to me.

This is a Milo Bar Bell plate that is over 100 years old!

This is the list of plates that I currently have:

Kung Cheng
Hercules
Milo Barbell
Champs Barbell
Healthways Hollywood
Beerbell
All American Ways to Health
Dan Lurie Brooklyn NY
Pro Gym Barbell
Fit for Life
Weider Barbell
Jack LaLanne
Keys
Billard Barbell
Prosport Fitness
York Barbell
Golds Gym
Paramount Las Angeles
DP
Intersport
Sunsport Champion

A few of these brand name plates were obviously cast by the same mold.  Champs Barbell, Healthways, and the All American Ways to Health look very identical in shape and size.  Altogether, I have 21 different plates out of well over 100 plate manufacturers that has been in existence.  My favorite is the Milo Barbell plate, that was cast by Alan Calvert and his Milo Barbell company that was the precursor of York Barbell.  It is the exact casting of the “first generation” York plates.   The one very unique plate in the above collection, which has NOTHING to do with being used to place on a bar to lift, is the Beerbell.  It is a 1 1/4 lb. plate that is shaped to sit a cold can of beer on!!  Other favorites of mine are the Jack LaLanne plate, the Dan Lurie plate, and the obscure Kung Cheng and Hercules plates.

I decided today would be a good day to run this story about my plate collection since Christmas is coming up.   I know I’m a hard guy to find a gift for – so I’m just throwing out some ideas here!!! LOL  I could always take a few additions to my plate collection.

A good POWER RACK is hard to find

by Al Myers

This is the custom-built Power Rack in the Dino Gym, which I made many years ago. It has many unique features (like hydraulic jacks attached to the bar hooks for easy adjustment of a loaded bar) that benefit lifters and lifting!!

I’ve spent a good part of my adult life in the gym training, and with that experience comes exposure to many different type of power racks.  Some good, but most have deficiencies in my opinion.  There always seems to be some feature that is less than optimal on each one I have used.  But Power Racks (or often called Power Cages – same thing, different name) have come a long ways since the early York Cages or Iron Man Power Racks.  I consider a good power rack as the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment in a gym (behind bars and plates).   A good power rack is the centerpiece of any serious gym, and often the most used piece of equipment in a free weight based training facility.  Up to 50% of my training time is spent in the “rack” each week doing a multitude of different lifts.  Having a good power rack to fulfill your training objectives goes a LONG WAYS to making continued strength improvement.  Today I’m going to go over power rack features that I feel are very important in having the ultimate power rack, from most important to least important. 

1.  Sturdy construction and Size

There are many racks on the market made out of lightweight tubing, with bolt-on construction.  A Power Rack should be heavy duty and not “bouncing around” every time a squat is racked in it.  A frame made out of at least 2.5″  11 gauge square tubing is necessary.  Also – the side frames should be welded and not bolted together.   Most commercial racks that are sold will use bolt-on construction to minimize the shipping costs – but in turn will cause inherent weaknesses in the power rack.  Bolts will loosen up with time, and bolted construction allows “wiggle room” in the joints.   Depth of power racks is also important to give plenty of room for lifting.  The depth of a power rack should be at least 36 inches.  The power rack should be high enough to not interfere with any type of overhead lifting you want to do – but this is often limited by ceiling height.

Power Racks have come a long ways since this "top of the line" power rack advertised in a 1966 issue of Iron Man.

2.  Bar Hooks (or J-hooks as they are normally called)

I think the bar hooks (which holds the bar in the power rack) either “makes or breaks” a good rack.  They are the most functionally used piece of the Power Rack, and should be of the highest quality, yet often good racks have junky bar hooks.  A bad bar hook will be an ongoing frustration and will soon completely overshadow all other aspects of your power rack.  Most bar hooks are made by utilizing bending, which often gives an inconsistent product.  Most  bent- type bar hooks I’ve seen have a sloppy fit on the rack.  The reason for this because of the bending a good consistent tolerance can’t be maintained – and thus manufacturers make them loose to insure that they will fit in all cases.  I just hate bar hooks that “swing in the breeze” on a rack.  Every time the bar is moved the bar hook will slide to the side.  Bar hooks should also be of adequate length, but at the same time not too long as to catch the bar as a lifter comes up from a squat.  Short bar hooks are a bigger problem.  A bar hook should be of length to allow a lifter to rack the weight easily.  Another important feature is NO SHARP EDGES.  I have scars on both of my shoulders that occurred as the result of bar hook injuries in the gym.  Both times I wasn’t paying attention and caught the edge of my shoulders on bar hooks attached to the front of the rack.  Add in the number of times I’ve cut the outside of my palms from sharp edges on hooks as I was racking a heavy squat, and you can see why I think this is an important feature.  Bar hooks should also be easy to adjust to different heights, and not require specialized wrenches or tools to do this.  

3.  Elevated bottom cross member

Most of the commercial power racks available DO NOT allow a wide based squatter to get proper foot placement.  A floor cross member interferes with the feet when trying to take a wide stance squat  (often limited to 43″ or 44″ at width).  This problem is easily addressed by raising the bottom cross member  up 12 inches.  That’s it – but for some reason power racks often are not designed that way.   A good power rack should allow for “sumo stance” lifting.

4.  Multiple adjustments

A good power rack should allow for any spacing of the bar hooks or safety supports.  I’ve seen some manufacturers go way overboard with the number of holes they place in their uprights (and make a holey looking rack, haha), but most have hole spacings that are too far apart, thus making it more difficult to get the correct setup for the hooks and supports.  Most serious lifters like their bar height setting for unracking a bar down to an inch of being correct.  I think anything over 2″ spacing is too much.  But placing more holes in tubing is an expensive manufacturing cost – so this is often compromised in providing a top quality product.

5.  Safety supports

A good power rack will have quality safety supports.  Safety supports are the adjustable cross members that will catch the bar in case of a failed lift.  Think of them as your safety net.   They should adjust easily, yet be very sturdy and secure.  Often you will see a rod inserted through the holes of the rack for this.  That is a poor design in my book as no rod is going to stay straight after dropping a loaded bar on it.   Some manufacturers have a pipe that you insert the rod through for the safety supports.  Again that is a cheap poor solution to safety supports.  Safety supports should be strong enough to lift off of – like doing rack pulls.  For this they need to be well made.   Having them lined with rubber to protect the bar is also a good idea, yet most all of them don’t have that.  They should be easy to adjust to different height as well.

6.  Able to take Add-ons

Add-ons for power racks are the new thing amongst the leaders of manufacturers of power racks.  However,  I prefer a power rack that “looks like a power rack” and not cluttered with unneccesary appendages hanging off it at all angles, but I know I’m in the minority on this.   As for the add-ons I’m talking about here – chin up bars, plate storage, bar racks, band/chain peg attachments, land-mine attachments, chain/band storage, dip attachments, front safety supports, med ball bounce plates, etc.  And there’s even more!!!  Before long the  power rack doesn’t even look like a power rack anymore.   Gyms and training facilities like to keep a “clean house” and with all the new training devices being used nowadays, it is hard to find a place to store them so the solution seems to be to just hang them on the power rack.   The important thing here is to have a power rack that has the capability to utilize whatever add-on YOU WANT.

I know I’ve covered a lot here – but Power Racks are something that I’m passionate about.  If anyone ever wants to either discuss power racks, or has specific questions about them just drop me an email (amyers@usawa.com) .  I’m always glad to hear from other power rack enthusiasts!

Introducing the DRAGSTER

by Al Myers

The DRAGSTER

I’m constantly thinking up new ways to impose self-induced torture on my training partners.  It’s the DINO GYM mentality!  We have a 150 foot cement “runway” in front of the gym that is perfectly level – that we use for pulling sleds, walking with yokes and farmers implements, carrying kegs,  and the like.  It’s a great way to get in a little “cardio” after a lifting session, and after a few runs, you are totally “wiped out”.  Plus doing these activities are WAY MORE fun than sitting like a puppet on the stationary exercise bike or walking  aimlessly to nowhere on the treadmill.  That type of cardiovascular training bores me to tears.  Actually, I can’t even stand it its so boring.  I just watch the clock constantly – waiting for my 30 minutes to elapse so I can quit.  Training is suppose to be fun!!!!!

Al "the DINOMAN" Myers giving Darren Barnhart a fast run on the DRAGSTER.

Well – NOW IT IS!!!  I’ve pushed on all types of prowlers, and love them.  But I always felt like the prowler could be improved, so thus, the invention of the DINO GYM DRAGSTER!  You can think of the dragster as the “ultimate prowler”  – it takes the prowler to a whole nother level!  I’ve spent a lot of time on this design, and after much prototype redesigning, it finally is perfected. 

Last weekend was the BIG TEST DAY for the final design of the dragster. I gathered several of my training partners for this grueling experiment, and we spent a couple of hours being test subjects.  I had no idea how exhausted I was becoming because I was having so much fun!  The next few days I paid the price with my front quads being so sore I couldn’t go up steps. The unique thing about the dragster is that it can take “live weight” along with added plates.  Of course, when I say “live weight” I mean one of your training partners.  Actually, I had as much fun riding the dragster as pushing it.  Sorta made me feel like a kid again riding my sled down the hill when it snowed.  This “live weight” added a whole new dimension to the training as when you were the one pushing you wanted to give the other guy a fast run – thus the reason for the name DRAGSTER!!!

This is the perfect training implement for everyone – lifters, athletes, strongmen, etc.   I’m going to take the Dragster to production. If anyone is interested in one – send me an email and I’ll give you a quote.

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers

DINO GYM RECORD DAY

Group picture from the 2013 Dino Gym Record Day: (front left to right) Dan Wagman, Ruth Jackson, Denny Habecker (back left to right) LaVerne Myers, Al Myers, Dean Ross, Mike Pringle

The Dino Gym had a very good Record Day the day following the Grip Championships.  6 lifters took part – Ruth Jackson, Dan Wagman, Dean Ross, Denny Habecker, LaVerne Myers,  and myself.  Ken Glasgow performed a record lift the day before which I added to these results.  I was surprised by the efforts that were displayed, especially considering that most all of these lifters had competed the day before. The current IAWA Womens OVERALL BEST LIFTER Ruth Jackson stole the show with her setting USAWA records in 30 different  lifts!  Just watching RJ max out in one lift after the other made me tired!  Dan Wagman had the lift that impressed me the most – doing a Pull Up with 120 pounds attached to his waist. The rules of the Pull Up call for the chin to be ABOVE the bar at completion, and the lifter must hold for a down command.  This makes doing a USAWA Pull Up MUCH harder than commonly performed pull ups by lifters in training sessions.  To properly judge this lift, it requires the official to stand on a chair to have a level view of the bar and the chin.  I made sure Dan reached the proper height.  I made a point to tell Dan that his big handlebar mustache was providing him an advantage, as it was obstructing (and distracting!)  my view of his chin! LOL.  The second most impressive lift I seen was my Dad, LaVerne, performing a PULL UP!!  I had no idea that he could do that!  However, I made him do another one with 5# so he could get a record.  Doing a lift with no weight doesn’t get you in the record list.  I bet there are VERY FEW  men over the age of 65 that weigh 250 pounds who can do a legal USAWA Pull Up. 

Dean Ross performed the Carter Lift with 433# pounds for USAWA Record.

Dean Ross picked a couple of odd lifts to do for records.  He performed a 1200# Back Lift, which is a lift that is not available to be done in most gyms. He also performed a Carter Lift, of 433#.  This lift is one of the strange, unique lifts of the USAWA.  It requires the performance of a Hip Lift and a Squat in the SAME LIFT!  Only one other lifter has a USAWA record in the Carter Lift, and that is Bob Maxey.  Dean told me the reason he wanted to do this lift was in Bob’s memory.  I remember the day that Bob did his Carter Lift and I also remember how nervous I was spotting him.  Dean had me worried as well when he started as he fell down a couple of times and I didn’t want this meet to be added to Dean’s list of head injuries that he has suffered in his life.  But eventually he got the balance right, and did a perfect executed Carter Lift.

Denny Habecker performed 10 lifts for record which will expand his lead over Art in the Records Race.  Last year at this record day Denny “took it easy” on the record book and only did a few records.  But this year he really went after it, and I don’t blame him as Art seems to be getting stronger with age.  Denny, Dean and LaVerne had a little “mini competition” in the 3″ bar deadlift.  Denny held with these two who are much bigger than him, and finished with a great lift of 280 pounds.

Afterwards, we all went out to eat together at a local Mexican restaurant in Abilene.   That has become a tradition of meets held at the Dino Gym.  I always enjoy getting to spend time with “fellow lifters” over some good food in a relaxed environment after a day of hard lifting, because that’s when I hear the BEST STORIES!

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
February 10th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials (1-official system used):  Al Myers, Denny Habecker, LaVerne Myers

Loader: Mike Pringle and lifters

Lifts: Record Day

Ruth Jackson – Age 51, BWT 108#, Female

French Press: 25#
Pullover – Bent Arm: 63#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 130#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 95#
Gardner – Full: 15#
Gardner – Half: 45#
Abdominal Raise: 25#
Allen Lift: 15#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Hand: 68#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Hand: 68#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 153#
Continental to Chest – Fulton Bar: 63#
Deadlift – Trap Bar: 207#
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers: 25#
Snatch – On Knees: 45#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 55#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 63#
Maxey Press: 73#
Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar: 73#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 70#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 40#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 40#
Pullover – Straight Arm: 35#
Weaver Stick: 1#
Pullup: 25#
Chin Up: 25#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 45#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 45#
Saxon Snatch: 25#
Snatch – 2 Dumbbells: 50#

Al Myers – Age 46, BWT 241#

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 231#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 198#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 170#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 85#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 85#

Dan Wagman – Age 50, BWT 183#

Snatch – Left Arm: 125#
Pull Up: 120#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 110#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 110#

LaVerne Myers – Age 68, BWT 247#

Bench Press – Left Arm: 50#
Bench Press – Right Arm: 50#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 255#
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 45#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 45#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 170#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 170#
Deadlift – Reeves: 185#
Pull Up: 5#

Denny Habecker – Age 70, BWT 196#

Anderson Press: 175#
Clean and Jerk – Behind Neck: 143.3#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 280#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar: 113#
Clean and Press: 137.8#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 75#

Dean Ross – Age 70, BWT 269#

Deadlift – Trap Bar: 321#
Back Lift: 1200#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 280#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 148#
Deadlift – Reeves: 235#
Carter Lift: 433#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#

Ken Glasgow – Age 76, BWT 217#

Deadlift – Trap Bar: 302#

NOTES: All lifts and bodyweights recorded in pounds.

Dino Gym Shooting Competition

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow won the Handgun Division, as well as the Small Bore Rifle Division.

I’m sure everyone is wondering how the shooting competition following the Dino Gym Challenge turned out.   Well, it ended up taking about as long as the meet to complete!  I had several entrants in each shooting division, with some outstanding marksmanship taking place. Luckily, we had a perfect day of weather with very minimal wind.  Four divisions were contested, and each person could enter whichever division they wanted, depending on what their shooting expertise was.  Darren Barnhart was the only one to  enter all four divisions.  The four shooting divisions were:

1.  Shotgun Trap Shot
2.  Small Bore Rifle (.223 caliber and smaller)
3.  Large Bore Rifle (above .223 caliber)
4.  Handgun

Darren Barnhart entered all four divisions, showing his diversity as a shooter. He's indeed an All-Round shooter!

The TOP THREE in each division are as follows:

Shotgun Trap Shot  – 25 blue rock targets were throw from an electric trap thrower, with each shooter getting one shot per target.

1.  Darren Barnhart – 18/25
2. Thom Van Vleck – 16/25
2 (tie). Chad Ullom – 16/25

Small Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Dave Glasgow – 61 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 58 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 36 points

Large Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Thom Van Vleck – 71 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 16 points
3.  Dan Wagman – 0 points!

Handgun – 5 shots at 3 yards, 5 shots at 7 yards, 5 shots at 10 yards

1.  Dave Glasgow – 176 points
2.  Dan Wagman – 152 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 96 points

World Champ Dan Wagman takes aim - I just don't know at what!!!

Now for a little commentary on the days shooting.  First, I didn’t compete, but instead acted as the official to make sure everything was done on the “up and up”.  I was most surprised by Chad  Ullom.  Chad continues to show everyone that he seems to be a natural at everything.  He doesn’t even own a gun, and very rarely has ever shot one, but wanted to compete so he borrowed a shotgun from Darren to enter the shotgun contest.  He started off miserably – missing his first half dozen shots. At this point – he made a newbie mistake and jammed up Darren’s gun so it wouldn’t work anymore.  I then had to let him borrow one of mine to finish his shoot. At this juncture I gave him a few shooting tips and reminded him of the value of my shotgun, and that I would hold him accountably for it if he broke it.   Well, this motivational talk of mine must have got him focused and he seemed to “get on fire” and started hitting every target!!!  Thom was solid as expected in the Trap Shoot, but still ended up with a tie with Chad for second.  Darren won the event with a very good 18 out of 25.  Next up was the small bore rifle competition.  Again, Chad was up against a couple of seasoned shooters in Darren and Dave, but made a fine showing to get third with again a borrowed rifle, edging out John O’Brien who scored a 27.  Darren had the lead after round 1 at 100 yards, but sharp-shooter Dave eclipsed him in round 2 at 200 yards to win the small bore.  The large bore rifle had three entrants: Thom, Darren, and Dan. A controversy immediately resulted as Dan was going to enter using his 5.56 M4 Colt Carbine.  A discussion ensued that this division was for .223 caliber and above, but after a group consensus, it was determined that the 5.56 caliber was indeed just slightly larger than the .223 caliber, and thus within the rules to be entered.  Thom was one hand with his trusty 6mm Remington rifle.  I could tell by the way he carassed his gun that it was a trusty ole friend of his, and that he had an intimate relationship with it.  I want to mention something here about rifle shooting.  Long distance rifle shooting requires a steady hand and a silent concentration – not exactly the mindset that most  weightlifters have.  Most of us that have been around Dan in the weightroom know that he gets about “as jacked” as any lifter could before an attempt.  I could see his jugular pulse beating away as he set up for his shots.  I thought for a moment that he was going to pull an ammonia cap out of his pocket to give him more of an adrenalin rush.  Add in the fact that he was shooting “open sights” and that the M4 Colt is designed to be shot as “accuracy through volume”, it was not adding up well for him.  I was slightly embarrassed to tell him that not only did he not hit the target once – but that he wasn’t even on the paper!!!  Now Thom was another story.  He destroyed the target with each shot using his bolt-action rifle in systematic fashion, and won by a HUGE MARGIN.  But Thom told me afterwards that his years in the Marines trained him well for distance shooting, and that paid off in his victory in this division.  We finished the day with the handgun division.  We conducted the event under the rules established for qualifying for the Kansas concealed license.  Darren was shooting a ultralight handgun that looked like it would fit in your front pocket without being noticed.  Chad borrowed a .22 pistol from Darren, Dave was shooting a 9mm semiautomatic, and Dan was shooting a huge 45 caliber.  Quite a diverse set of handguns for this competition.  Dave showed his years as a policemen training on the 9mm that he was in a “class of his own”.  His shooting technique was superb and hit the center on practically every shot.   Dan shooting his huge 45 made it about impossible for me to tally his score as he shot the entire center of the target out, and Chad really surprised me by hitting the target on every one of his shots.  Overall, this was a great competition and a fitting ending to a great day at the Dino Gym!!!

Hoghton Barbell Club Victorious!

by Al Myers

Mark Haydock, the leader of the Hoghton Barbell Club, performing a 272.5 kg Squat at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. Spotters include Chad Ullom (left), Alex Rigbye (center), and Steve Angell (right).

The Dino Gym was issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club of Preston, England in last weekend’s Dino Gym Challenge. Well, the results are in and have been tabulated and the Hoghton Barbell Club has came out victorious! Congratulations to the Hoghton Barbell Club!  This “challenge” was mentioned several times on Saturday and I’m sure it pushed the Dino Gym members to greater lifting numbers.  I’m very proud of the Dino Crew and their lifting in the Dino Gym Challenge, however, it just wasn’t quite enough to overcome the powerful Hoghton club.  The finish was pretty close though:  1. Hoghton BB Club 4287.7 points, 2. Dino Gym 4126.3 points.  The only “consolation prize” the Dino Gym got was that in total pounds lifted the Dino Gym had 5237 pounds to Hoghton’s  4961 pounds.

It was agreed beforehand that the points of the top three performers of each club would be added together to form the TEAM SCORE.  The Hoghton Club consisted of Josh Haydock, Alex Rigbye, and Mark Haydock.  The scoring members of the Dino Gym were Alan English, Scott Campbell, and Mark Mitchell.  Other Dino Gym members that competed in the Challenge were Darren Barnhart, Scott Tully, Dean Ross, Ben Edwards, and Chuck Cookson.

The leader of Hoghton Barbell Club, Mark Haydock, sent this note to me when he sent me his club’s results:

A brief report on todays lifts, the squat went really well, all three of us hit personal best lifts I was 6kg up on training, Josh was 30kg up, and Alex was 90kg up!! The press was a bit of a damp squid and we didn’t really feel it was much different to a normal bench press. Josh and Alex were slightly up on the deadlift poundages and finished their days lifting with a smile on their faces, but with sore bodies! I only took 2 deadlift attempts, both were very strong pulls but I am currently nursing a strained finger injury and my grip is compromised at the moment, I made both lifts with a double overhand hook grip. We will be waiting with baited breath to see how we drop into the total set of results…     Thanks Mark H

I think it is worth pointing out that Mark Haydock performed a 917 pound Anderson Squat!  That’s a big lift!!!!  Again, congrats to the Hoghton Barbell Club for winning this challenge.   The next time I see ya Mark, I’ll have those Dino Gym T-shirts to “pay up” the bet!!!!!

MEET RESULTS:

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

1.  Hoghton Barbell Club – 4287.7 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Josh Haydock 22 80.0kg 642 264 440 1346 1293.8
Alex Rigbye 24 92.0kg 751 313 610 1674 1484.2
Mark Haydock 37 118.0kg 917 341 683 1941 1509.7

2.  Dino Gym – 4126.3 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Mark Mitchell 52 316# 672 365 624 1661 1329.4
Scott Campbell 38 287# 881 325 654 1860 1378.8
Alan English 29 231# 694 320 702 1716 1418.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Club of the Year Award

by Al Myers

Group picture of the Dino Gym members accepting the USAWA Club of the Year Award.

The Dino Gym won the USAWA Club of the Year for the second time since the USAWA Award Program started.  It was a great honor for the Dino Gym to win this award again, especially since the increased club activity within the USAWA these last couple of years makes it harder to win an award like this one now.  Denny Habecker of Habecker’s Gym presented us the award, as is the custom of the past Club of the Year Award winner.  One of the stipulations in winning this award is that you are not eligible the following year for it, but instead have the duty of presenting the next year’s winner, or “passing the crown” in a sense.

WINNER – DINO GYM

RUNNERUP – LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS

I also was very glad that the Dino Gym was well represented at this year’s Nationals. I want to thank the guys who made this trip on behalf of the Dino Gym: Chad Ullom, LaVerne Myers, Dean Ross, Scott Tully, and Darren Barnhart.

The Ledaig Heavy Athletic Club accepting the Runnerup Club of the Year Award.

Runner up for the Club of the Year is the Ledaig Heavy Athletics.   The Ledaig Club has become a major force amongst USAWA Clubs the past couple of years.   Last year the Ledaig HA won the team title at the USAWA Nationals in Kirksville.  Team members Dave Glasgow and Larry Traub competed this year in Vegas as well.  Congrats to the Ledaig Heavy Athletics!

Dino Gym: 2011 Club of the Year

by Al Myers

The centerpiece of the Dino Gym.

The nomination & voting period is over  for the 2011 USAWA yearly awards, to be awarded at the National Championships in several categories for outstanding performances within the USAWA.  I have just finished the tabulations and I am getting ready to contact the awards shop to get the awards made up.  So – I KNOW who the winners are but that’s still a secret until the awards presentation time!  But there is ONE AWARD that is announced ahead of time – the USAWA Club of the Year.  The reason it’s announced early is that it is really not a “mystery” as to who the winner is as this is the one award that is based on generating points instead of votes.  I have outlined this point system several times in the past so I won’t “rehash” all that now.  What I’m trying to say is this – anyone can add up the points on their own as ALL of the information is available on the website to do so, thus this winner is “no mystery”.

No club can win an award like this based on one individuals performance or effort.  It takes contributions of several.  I want to thank EVERYONE who was part of CLUB DINO GYM this past year, because this is EVERYONE’S AWARD.  I was VERY pleased how our gym functions were attended by gym members.  For the year 2011, the Dino Gym set a record for the most individual memberships to represent any USAWA club – EVER!  A total of 25 lifters joined the USAWA that listed the Dino Gym as their member club. I want to recognize and thank these lifters now (in alphabetical order): Chris Anderson, Darren Barnhart, Casey Barten, Nolan Berry, Rudy Bletscher, Scott Campbell, Chuck Cookson, Matt Cookson, Tyeler Cookson, Sam Cox, Ben Edwards, Lance Foster, Brian Krenzin, Chris Krenzin, Tyler Krenzin, Cody Lokken, Mark Mitchell, Russ Morton, Al Myers, Emily Myers, Molly Myers, LaVerne Myers, Dean Ross, Scott Tully, and Chad Ullom.

The final standings for the 2011 USAWA CLUB OF THE YEAR (only top 5 listed, for clubs generating over 10 points):

1.  Dino Gym – 56 points

2.  Ledaig Athletic Club – 21 points

3.  Jackson Weightlifting Club – 16 points

4.  Clarks Gym – 14 points

5.  Ambridge Barbell Club – 12 points

As per the original rules for the Club of the Year, the defending USAWA Club of the Year is not eligible the following year, and instead is responsible for “passing the title” at the next year’s awards presentation.  Thus, Habecker’s Gym, the 2010 USAWA Club of the Year, is not in the rankings.

Grip Champs Reminder

by Al Myers

The BEST LIFTER AWARDS for the 2012 USAWA Grip Championships, held at the Dino Gym on Saturday, February 11th.

This upcoming weekend is the USAWA Grip Championships and the Dino Gym Record Day.  This gives you the opportunity to make two competitions in the same weekend!  Saturday will be the Grip Champs, and I have already received commitments from several lifters. It looks like it will be a big meet (if there is such a thing in the USAWA, LOL).  I expect at least 15 lifters.  Our USAWA Prez Denny “the LIFTING LIAR”  Habecker is going to make an appearance again this year.  Believe it or not, but Thom “BIG T” Van Vleck is going to compete as well!  Newcomer Jarrod Fobes from Denver is going to make his first appearance at the Dino Gym.  Several others are “committed” as well (in the Dino Gym Asylum that is) - Murdo, The Champ, Ross the Boss, the Professor, the Barn,  and BIG POPPA..   All weight divisions & age groups will be contested individually, as is the custom of Championship competitions within the USAWA.  But to add “icing on the cake”  I have made some special awards for the BEST LIFTERS.  I have decided to give awards to the top three best lifters in the Senior Division (20-39 age group), Masters 1 (40-59 age group), and Masters 2 (60+ age group).  The awards given will be a Dumbbell Walk handle, a 2″ Vertical Bar, and a Dinnie Lift Ring with pin loader.  What better awards than this????  You may win an award that you can take home to train with.  I plan to make this lifters choice – top lifter gets first choice of these three things, second lifter gets choice of the two remaining items, and the third best lifter gets whats left.  Of course, if you want to do some trading with the other division winners that is acceptable!

The IAWA(UK) hosted their grip meet last weekend, directed by my English nemesis, Mark “HAYSTACK” Haydock.  They ended up having 18  lifters enter.  Let’s show the English and Scots  that we can do better than that!

Good versus Evil

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson lifts the Dino/JWC Challenge Wheels overhead.

Last weekend after the Dino Gym Challenge, we pulled out the “Dino/JWC Challenge Wheels” for a little impromptu competition between a few of us.  That seems to always happens after any meet at the Dino Gym.  Often the real competition (for bragging rights) happens after the official competition took place!  I’ve been saving this little challenge for a special moment like this. Last fall Thom Van Vleck gave me a set of train cart wheels with a rotating 2″ axle between them.  It was off of an old-style push cart so the train wheels are much smaller than regular train wheels.  This was the “matching set” to the cart wheels I gave Thom last summer at Nationals (I’ll let him tell that story).  Thom really fixed up this Challenge Wheels for me – one side is painted Dino Blue with the  Dino Gym name painted on them, and the other side is painted JWC Black with the JWC name painted on them.  Half of the axle is painted blue, while the other half of the axle in painted black.  It looks quite spectacular in appearance!

These Challenge Wheels will become a centerpiece of the Dino Gym, as they hang from the ceiling.

One day when I was looking at it in the gym I thought how symbolic these Challenge Wheels are.  The black representing the “dark side” of lifting while the blue representing  all the things good in lifting (I should mention that blue is a very patriotic color). Weightlifting is the constant battle of “Good vs. Evil”.   At times when I’m lifting I really feel like the weights are my enemy, and in order to win the battle I must lift them.  It often requires me to give peak performance to accomplish this goal in front of me, and takes me to my limits of physical ability. So in other words, the weights (the evil) brings out the best in me (the good).   Now before you start thinking that the Dino Man has finally “lost his marbles”, think about this for awhile. Why do YOU LIFT WEIGHTS?  It’s not about the trophies or awards, it’s much more than that. It’s about the sense of  “conquering the iron” that makes you keep coming back for more.   I sure don’t lift weights for my health either.  If that was the case, I wouldn’t want ANY  PART of some of these dangerous all round lifts and would buy myself a bow flex instead.   

It gave me great satisfaction to lift the Challenge Wheels.  Several of the other gym members lifted them as well.  BIG POPPA Mark Mitchell strict pressed them at least a dozen times to top all of us. I have no idea what this challenge weighs, or really care to know. That’s not the point of it. Afterwards, these Challenge Wheels got hung from the ceiling and will reside there until the next lifter wants to “take a shot at it”.  It will become a centerpiece in the Dino Gym for all to see, and hopefully, will inspire others.  

(AUTHOR’S  NOTE:  In no way do I intend to imply that the JWC is evil because the JWC worships the color black and trains under ground level in a dark  basement dungeon.  The Dino Gym considers the JWC as a friendly rival, and much appreciates this wonderful gift from them.)

Dino Strength Training Center

by Scott Tully

The front of the newly opened Dino Strength Training Center.

We are proud to announce the opening of the new Dino Strength Training Center at 703 Bishop street in Salina, KS.  This is the version of our training facility that was formerly in Lon Beffort’s basement.   These past 5 years we have acquired so much equipment and training partners we needed a much larger area. We found a commercial space in Salina that is 3200 square foot, with a large overhead door in the back and open lot to train strongman,  GPP, or bbq, with the third being our favorite!  The other interesting thing about the space is that it has been a gym of some sorts for over 30 years, starting out as salina weight training, then bensons, and until recently reps and sets.  This also was the first gym Lon, Mark, Chuck and myself belonged to in Salina. When Chuck and I walked in it looked like someone tossed in a grenade and ran, but after 300+ hours and 3 tons of construction waste removed we feel we have put together a top notch training center for powerlifting, strongman, oly lifting, all around or to just get in better shape. 

We consider this a extension of the Dino Gym in Holland in purpose, as the goal is to come here and get stronger. Our core group is Chuck, Tyler, and Matt Cookson, Lon Beffort, Mark Mitchell,  Al Myers, Stephan Kency, Darren Barnhart, Allan English and myself.  We also have as of now about 30 other members who actively train here.  Our rates are very reasonable:  30 for a single, 35 for a couple, or 40 for a family.  Members also get a key so they can train when they like. We are currently looking at dates to host an all around competition, and will be holding strongman and powerlifting comps in the near future.

Check us out on facebook - with search words being Dino Strength Training Center.

KEEP OUT THE LUNKS!

by Al Myers

Big John Conner, of the Dino Gym, competed this past weekend at the Olympia Strongman Challenge. John is a professional strongman and would be considered a "lunk" in most all commercial gyms.

Recently on the USAWA Discussion Forum I posted a news story video about a hardcore lifter who got “thrown out” of a Planet Fitness Health Club for being a “lunk”.  It would be easy to think this was all a joke – but the disturbing part is that most of  it is not!  Planet Fitness has been very open and firm in their policies regarding lifters who are hardcore lifters, and that is they are not wanted.  Just go to Planet Fitness’s website to see a list of these policies.  But first, watch the video, which I’m going to call – KEEP OUT THE LUNKS

The parts of this video which I found the most humorous were: 

1.  Planet Fitness is discriminating against “muscled americans”.
2.  A “no grunting policy” that includes even heavy breathing!
3.  The comment “all the animals can be in one cage” when referring to the heavy lifters.
4.  And of course the Planet Fitness LUNK ALARM!

I was also humored when the cute little blond representing Planet Fitness called these heavy lifters lunks, meatheads, lunk heads, and even jerks!  Those are harsh words!  All this got me thinking about the guys in my Dino Gym, and I have come to the conclusion that the Dino Gym ONLY contains lunks, and we are that place referred to as where “all the animals can be in one cage”!  I don’t care to question Planet Fitness business tactics on this, because in all truth, heavy lifters in a gym are intimidating to most other club members (I’m not going to even call them lifters)  who are as weak as a newborn kitty.  Plus, add in the fact that heavy lifters NEVER miss a workout and are the ones hardest on fancy gym equipment, it makes sense to keep out this element.  The BEST CLIENTS of fitness clubs are people who have lots of money to always keep their gym membership paid up, but never show up to actually work out.  That’s who fitness clubs like to cater to, not guys who are gym rats.

Now back to the lunks in the Dino Gym. It does bother me when people classify heavy lifters as lunks or meatheads, in which implying these guys are of lesser intelligence or “dummies”.   Most of my training partners are very successful in life and with their jobs.   Sure, when you first meet Scott “THE ENFORCER” Tully you would think the only job he could get would be a bouncer, but Scott is an educated man and has worked as a financial broker.  That’s right – people PAY Scott to handle their money.  That’s not a job for a lunk!   Now take Chad “THE CHAMP” Ullom.   At first glance you would think the only job he could get would be a stunt double for Stone Cold Steve Austin.  And let me tell you this – you would have to be a real dummy to take THAT JOB because I’m sure Stone Cold wouldn’t leave the easy stuff for ya!  But “in real life” Chad is a Pharmacist and has a very demanding job as a regional manager for Walgreens.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  How about John “THE GIANT” Conner? At 6 foot 9 and close to 400 pounds, John is one of the most intimidating individuals you would ever meet. He has got thrown out of most all the gyms in Wichita for being a lunk.  Now the only place he can train is the Dino Gym.  The problem is that he is so dang strong he bends all the bars and breaks all the equipment in commercials gyms!  (but he hasn’t bent a bar in the Dino Gym yet, because we cater to lunks).  But when you meet John he is one of the nicest guys you would ever meet, and he is the best artist I know. Most don’t know this, but John is the guy who did the art work for our USAWA logo.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  Next take Mark “BIG POPPA” Mitchell.  Mark’s got shoulders wider than a doorframe, and legs as thick as tree trunks.  At first glance you might mistakenly think Mark was in the personal security business, and worked as a body guard.  Possibly even a night security guard somewhere.  But Mark is also an educated man, and serves as a senior probational officer.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  I could go “on and on” with these examples of guys in the gym.   Look outside the Dino Gym and you see this as well.  Take Eric  ”THE ICEMAN”  Todd  for example.  He clearly looks like a lunk on the outside, and at competitions when he gets intense he gives you that look that Chuck Liddell gives guys before he busts their heads.  I’m sure the LUNK ALARM would go off the minute ET opens the front door of a Planet Fitness.  But in real life, Eric is a schoolteacher who spends his days “shaping the minds” of our youth.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  What about Thom “BIG T” Van Vleck – is he a lunk?   Thom exhibits every physical trait of a lunk – shaved head, big gray goatee, and he likes to “eye ball” people he first meets.  But believe it or not, Thom is a counselor at a Medical School and is responsible for helping struggling medical students deal with their problems.  That’s not a job for a lunk!

I think I have made my point.  Lunks are good people, and I’m glad to be part of this brotherhood!  Who wants to train at a Planet Fitness anyhow?  Just come to the Dino Gym and you will fit right in!

Inman Mile

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Adam Kirchman training the Yoke Walk with 650 pounds over a 100 foot course in a recent workout. Adam would be my choice among gym members who would have the best chance of achieving the Inman Mile.

Recently I have had some email correspondance with a lifter interested in the Inman Mile.  Of course the first question EVER asked regarding this event is - ”HAS IT EVER BEEN DONE?”  The Inman Mile is definitely unlike all of the other official lifts of the USAWA.  First of all, it can hardly be called a lift. It is the only official lift in the USAWA Rule Book where poundage is not listed in the record list.  Instead, this event is for TIME.  Let’s start with a review of the rules:

USAWA Rules for the Inman Mile

The lifter will take a bar onto the shoulders with a weight equal to 150 per cent of the lifter’s bodyweight. The lifter will then carry this weight a distance of one mile. Gait is optional.  Stopping to rest is allowed, but neither the lifter nor the weight may be supported in any manner.  The bar must not be touched by any assistants once the mile has begun or it will be a disqualification. The bar must stay on the back the entire mile. The lifter may be handed refreshments during the mile. Records will be kept for time. 

Now to the answer whether it has ever been done.  IT HAS NOT (at least not officially in the USAWA).  Since it has not been completed EVER no records are recorded for it in both the USAWA and IAWA Record Lists.  The rules specifically state that “records will be kept for time”.  A good attempt at this doesn’t get you a record for distance.  You must finish the Mile.  I have received several emails in the past asking about this novelty event in the USAWA.   I have always responded that if the person in question could succeed with the Inman Mile  (maybe a little video proof would need to be provided to me), I would do whatever was needed in order to help them get this listed as an “official record” in our organization.  Even if this included me getting on a plane and flying to the coast for the weekend,  or enlisting someone I know in the area who is an active reputable official for the USAWA to go there and witness and officiate it.  I also have said that accomplishing the Inman Mile would have to be considered as one of the BEST STRENGTH FEATS ever done in the USAWA.  I really hope someday someone does accomplish it.  I have enough sense to know that this is something I could NEVER DO, so “that person” will not be me.  I know lifters who have tried, and some who I thought might have a chance, but in all instances they failed miserably.   The limit is always maintaining the bar on the shoulders.  As you tire, the bar slips down the back, and once this happens the hope for the mile is lost. 

As I already said, I consider this a novelty lift in the USAWA.  We have a few others in our list of official lifts that would fit this category as well.  There has been talk of eliminating some of these obscure lifts that no one can do from the USAWA list of official lifts in the past, but truthfully, I don’t think that is a good idea.  I say this because eventually someone WILL do them, and when they do, it will become something to talk about!  I receive as many inquistive emails regarding these lifts as the others.   I guess you could call it curiosity appeal – and it turn gives exposure to the USAWA.

If you do an internet search on the Inman Mile you will see it “pop up” several times.   Often it appears in forums, where this “challenge” is mentioned by someone.  I even found talk of it in some backpacking forums. I KNOW the USAWA is the root behind all this, as we are the ones who in a sense, created the Inman Mile.  However, no one knows “the story” behind the Inman Mile besides maybe only a few of us.  I wouldn’t know it if it wasn’t for person responsible for naming it telling me!  And that person is NONE OTHER than the FATHER of the USAWA Bill Clark.  So I plan to tell it here for the first time on the internet.  Bill named this lift after Jerry Inman, a powerlifter who was originally from Billings, Missouri  (and a leader in a well known powerlifting club at the time – the Billings Barbell Club).  The time frame of this was the  late 1970s and early 1980s.  Jerry was a marine (and it would take a hard-headed marine to come up with something this grueling).  For a while, he lived in Olathe, Kansas.  When he found Bill Clark’s gym in Columbia, Missouri he was introduced to all-round weightlifting by Bill.   When Jerry Inman told Bill he thought he could walk a mile with a bar loaded to 150%  of his bodyweight on his back, it inspired Bill to name this event after him.  Jerry was never successful with this quest, but his mindset of THINKING he could do it and the effort of taking on the impossible, lead to this mysterious event to be forever named after him!   His best effort of 246 yards in 1979 is recorded in an old Missouri Valley Newsletter .  Jerry was a fit 148# powerlifting  marine, in the prime of his life when he tried also.  It would take someone like that to even have a remote chance of being successful with the Inman Mile. But when it does happen – I want to be there firsthand to watch it!

The Blob

by Al Myers

Scott "THE ENFORCER" Tully demonstates a pinch grip lift of two 50 pound blobs, one in each hand!!

A very popular gripping device that originated in the mid 1990’s was the Blob.  Initially, the term “the blob” referred to only the 50 pound end of a  York 100 lb. dumbbell (the heaviest dumbbell from the casting), but since then has been applied to all weights of these York dumbbell ends.  The dumbbell in question is the York Dumbbell design from the 1970’s where the ends are round with sloping sides - a shape much like a hockey puck.  The preferred method of lifting a blob is to use a one hand pinch grip. The sloping sides add to the difficulty of maintaining a hold.  In the Dino Gym, we have a “complete set” of York Blobs – from 20 pounds to 50 pounds in 2.5 pound intervals. Often, challenges arise and we will start with the smaller ones and work our way up.  I’m usually in “this game” until we get to the 40-42,5 pounder, and then I have to bow out.  Darren and Scott always win,  as both have picked up the 50 pound blob many times.  One hand pinch lifting a 50# blob is considered the ultimate accomplishment.  It takes someone with an exceptional pinch grip to be able to accomplish this.  The “pure way” of lifting them is without chalk – and using tacky is forbidden!!

Around 2005, York discountined the production of this dumbbell style for awhile.   It made those that had York Blobs worth alot!  I remember watching ebay and seeing some of the prices paid for York Blobs.  For a while, one of these York Dumbbells was worth more as two blobs than an intact dumbbell!! You gotta say the grip guys can be quite the fanatics!  I know lots of  hard-core weightlifting collectors didn’t like to see a collector dumbbell like these getting cut up into two pieces!!  It wasn’t long after this and these dumbbells were manufactured again using the original foundry casting, and in return, the value of blobs came back down to an affordable rate.  They are now sold under the “Legacy Line” of York products.

Link to York Barbell Website - www.yorkbarbell.com

Team Spirit

by Thom Van Vleck

We have a lot of fun with our team rivalries in the USAWA.  While it is all in good fun, it has gotten heated from time to time, but that’s OK.  Sometimes that’s what it takes to get fired up for big lifts!  It reminds me a lot of the rivalry I felt when I was a Marine.  We hated the Army, Air Force, and Navy, but when we had a common enemy we quickly banded together.  In the Marines we had a saying: “You won’t find a better friend or worse enemy”.  I also believe: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” (Chesty Puller said that, the most decorated Marine of all time and a personal hero). I feel the same about my affiliation with the JWC.

A great photo of Dino Gym member and enforcer Scott Tully....in a great shirt! While I've kidded Scott about this photo, it would not be hard to find one of me in a Dino Gym shirt. And, no, that's not my bald head in the photo!

We all enjoy our training for lots of reasons.  I’m sure most of us have a primary reason for doing it and for most, that primary reason is probably to get strong!  For a bodybuilder it may be to “look strong” (I never understood why you would want to look stronger than you really were….I want to be stronger than I look!).  The reality is that we probably train and compete for lots of reasons beyond that.  One of those reasons is for the social aspect.  We are humans, we generally seek out companionship….even loners will have a dog or cat for companionship! So, for social interaction, we join teams.  Now, I’m not talking about “socializing” (although that certainly happens!) but the act of finding a common bond or thread.  Common interests, so to speak.  That’s the social aspect I’m talking about.

We also like competition.  I can recall going out to the old JWC gym at about age 10 with a buddy of mine and doing a powerclean and push press.  The first thing he did was slide on a little more weight and lift it….and it was “ON”!  We didn’t stop until we’d about killed ourselves!   Teams give us the best of both world’s.  We can hook up with like minded individuals and find the motivation of competition within our own team and then against other teams.  But we can also have mutual respect for our rivals.  I know I have a lot of respect for my “rivals” in the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Ledaig…and the rest.  That’s why I own at least a t-shirt from each and in the case of the Dino gym almost a whole wardrobe of clothes!

Teams are a good thing.  They give us motivation, friendships, rivalries, and in the end, good times.   Being a part of a team can hold us to a higher standard than standing alone.  It can also reflect a lot about who we are and if done right, in a very positive way.  So join a team in the USAWA, or start a new one and join the rivalry for bigger gains and good fun.  I’m sure Scott will love the fact I used his photo for my example….and I’m sure it will motivate him to lift a little harder the next time we compete!

Club Challenge

by John McKean

THE 2011 USAWA CLUB CHALLENGE – THICK AS GRAVY

The Ambridge Barbell Club hosted this years USAWA Club Challenge. Pictured left to right: Art Montini, Phil Rosenstern, and John McKean.

I sure hope that nutritionists will discover that the Maple Restaurant’s famed thick, brown beef gravy is chock full of protein, vitamins, and minerals!  Our hungry Club Challenge competitors sure slurped a lot of the delicious sauce down with big beef platters!!  Joe Ciavattone Jr had been looking forward to this stuff all day (he even had his girlfriend research online the restaurant BEFORE he, his dad, and brother had left Boston!), and I think Chad and Al ordered an extra quart of the gravy as their beverage!!  But it was an absolutely wonderful meal that capped off a perfect lifting day – truly a family gathering of happy and starving USAWA men who had traveled from Kansas, Boston, Lebanon, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Aliquippa!!

Actually air flight arrangements were a bit off, with our Kansas group not being able to arrive before 2:30, but that eventually proved to be a big plus. While waiting, the rest of us hit the Ambridge gym at about 11 AM, and ended up setting sort of a record in itself – we actually completed FOUR meets within one afternoon!!  That is, we conducted a “Record Day”, 2 postal competitions, and then, well warmed, the Club Challenge.

Joe Ciavattone Sr., of Joe's Gym, performing an outstanding 2-Barbell Deadlift.

We have to give a huge thanks to co-meet director Art Montini for his skillful airport pickup & delivery system!!  Joe Ciavattone & sons were obviously a bit concerned when arriving at 9 AM on Friday morning at the big Pittsburgh terminal, heading toward the outside doors, and there was ole smiling Art at the ready!  They spent a relaxing day & night at Art’s place -as Joe told me  “I can’t ever remember being this relaxed going into a contest!”  Then, on Saturday afternoon, after lifting most of the day, ever energetic Art headed for the airport with perfect timing to intercept Al, Chad, and Darren ! They were back almost before we could get our second breath, and put us in real pain, as we entered into the main event !

As we warmed up, we had an unexpected treat -longtime powerlifter and Ambridge VFW member, 57 year old Phil Rosenstern, of deadlifting fame, was so impressed with the goings on (Phil was just innocently doing a normal Saturday workout when the craziness overtook him!)  that he immediately joined the USAWA, then hoisted a world record hack lift of 450 at 198 pounds bodyweight !!  It was fast, easy, and perfect, performed in front of 7 top level officials!!  Welcome aboard, Phil !

Scott Schmidt joined the Ambridge Club for this team event and is showing perfect technique in his 253 pound Bent Over Row.

The meet went in our usual “scatter fashion” with groups doing the 2 barbell deadlift, bent over row, and neck lift in various corners of the VFW pit. It worked to perfection, with everyone encouraging another to the very best efforts. Even the jet lagged crew from Kansas summoned their “inner animal” toward the end, with both Chad & Al neck lifting phenomenal 750 pound fourth attempts!  Their newcomer (to the Steel Valley) team mate, Darren was awesome in leading the Western men into battle, earlier having done a terrific, balanced 470 pound 2 barbell deadlift.

What more can be said about the Ciavattones – other than they are the strongest family team in the USAWA ?!!  It was just fantastic to see old buddy Joe & his teen sons Joe Jr and Jon!  And these men came to lift heavy, sticking at it all day,with records vanishing through their strong hands!  Not to mention thick NECKS – these three guys set the bar for neck lifting standards at this contest; it was their collective performance that inspired me to include this lift in the contest (despite all the grief EVERYONE gave me about this painful harness event!!!).

Dino Gym teammates Chad Ullom and Al Myers both ended the day with record performances in the Neck Lift, each with a lift of 750 pounds.

Denny and Kohl once again brought “knives to a gunfight”, as they were the two man team in a three man event!!  So, naturally, they won the two man team award with their usual record breaking prowess. I think they also had the meet record for the longest TIME traveled during that day with a round trip to/from Lebanon (PA) of about 12 hours (despite moans & groans about layovers from a certain group of cowboys!).

And what would a meet be without the smooth talking (he convinced the Maple restaurant over the phone to remain open for our after meet dinner!!) Scott Schmidt to drive over from Cleveland to be Ambridge’s third team member for the day? Scott did his usual stellar, perfect form performance, and even inspired old Art into setting 4 new Master’s records!

As Al summed up over dinner, the Club Challenge is certainly well established now as one of  the USAWA’s premier events. We just may have more fun & comradary at this contest than any other!  Next year let’s shoot for 10 teams!!!

FULL MEET RESULTS

2011 Club Challenge
Ambridge VFW BBc
Ambridge, PA
March 12th, 2011

Meet Directors:  John McKean and Art Montini

Officials: (3-official system used on all lifts):  John McKean, Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Scott Schmidt, Joe Ciavattone Sr., Al Myers, Chad Ullom, Darren Barnhart

Lifts:  Deadlift – 2 Bars, Bent Over Row, Neck Lift

1. Dino Gym – 3192.35 Adjusted Points

Lifter Age BWT DL Bent Neck
Al Myers 44 248 590 300 550
Chad Ullom 39 238 510 285 550
Darren Barnhart 43 285 470 285 400

2.  Joe’s Gym – 3066.05 Adjusted Points

Lifter Age BWT DL Bent Neck
Joe Ciavattone Sr. 42 254 410 285 600
Joe Ciavattone Jr. 17 220 410 205 550
Jonathon Ciavattone 16 234 350 184 550

3.  Ambridge BBC – 2773.84 Adjusted Points

Lifter Age BWT DL Bent Neck
John McKean 65 175 370 209 350
Art Montini 83 179 238 100 250
Scott Schmidt 58 251 363 253 264

4.   Habecker’s Gym – 1679.02 Adjusted Points

Lifter Age BWT DL Bent Neck
Denny Habecker 68 188 290 209 270
Kohl Hess 16 285 410 220 300

All lifts recorded in pounds and adjusted points are adjusted for bodyweight correction and age allowance.

Extra attempts for Record:

Chad Ullom – Bent Over Row 300#
Chad Ullom – Deadlift, 2 Bars 550#
Chad Ullom – Neck Lift 750#
Al Myers – Neck Lift 750#

Record Day Session

John McKean – 175 pounds BWT, 65 years of age

Hack Lift – Fulton Bar: 195#
Squat:  225#
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar: 300#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 300#

Phil Rosenstern – 198 pounds BWT, 57 years of age

Hack Lift: 450#

Scott Schmidt – 251 pounds BWT, 58 years of age

Pinch Grip – Right Hand: 136#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 99#

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers

DINO GYM RECORD DAY

Group picture of the lifters at the 2011 Dino Gym Record Day. Pictured front row (left to right): Mike Murdock, Chris Krenzin, Tyler Krenzin, Denny Habecker. Back row (left to right): Casey Barten, Al Myers, LaVerne Myers, Scott Tully. Not pictured: Chuck Cookson, Tyeler Cookson, Matt Cookson

MEET REPORT

After the great meet the day before at the Grip Championships, I wondered if anyone had the energy and motivation to come back for “Day Two” to set some USAWA records.  I was surprised to have 11 participants!  Lots of records were set.  One of the first to walk in the door of the Dino Gym was Mike Murdock.  When I was checking Mike in, he informed me that there was a change to his “status” – he NOW was 71 years old instead of 70, as today was his birthday!  What a way to spend your birthday – breaking records in the USAWA!  Mike went on to break more records than anyone else with a total of 20.  That’s a lot of records considering Mike was going all-out on every lift. His 80# Crucifix impressed me the most – considering it was done IMMEDIATELY following his dumbbell clean and press.

The Krenzin brothers have been regulars these past few years at my record days.  These two young kids, Chris and Tyler,  keep getting stronger as they grow.  They enjoy breaking the marks in lifts that they did the YEAR BEFORE the most.  Their one arm VB deadlifts were very impressive.  Tyler did 100# and Chris was close behind at 97#.  It impressed me when Chris noticed I was wearing my lifting singlet he went back out to the truck to get his youth wrestling singlet – and then he put it on!  He wanted to look like a weightlifter too!!

Scott Tully had a great day.  The day before Scott served as the head official of the Grip Championships.  Based on the grip records he set in this record day – he should have been competing!  Scott performed a 358# Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, a 232# one arm 2″ VB deadlift, and a 414# 2 bar 2″ VB deadlift – all for overall records in the 125 plus kilogram class.   Pretty stupendous lifts!!!  He topped off his day by breaking the record in the hands together bench press with a lift of 320#, erasing the record held by the Bench Behemoth Dave Beversdorf.  (I’m just throwing this out Dave to give you a little motivation!!)

Matt and Tyeler Cookson pulled a 2-Man Team Deadlift of 860 pounds, for the highest USAWA Team Deadlift of All-Time amongst Junior lifters.

My Dad LaVerne was planning to sit this one out like he did the day before because of a recent eye surgery.  But like a true all-rounder, he decided to ignore the doctors recommendations  and “just lift light” instead. However, once he got started the lifts he did just kept getting heavier and heavier!  His lift that impressed me the most was his 77# one hand Pinch Grip.

Denny Habecker made the long drive to my place by himself (over 20 hours) and still had the energy to lift both days, and on top of that, set many records on Sunday.  His record count for the weekend had to be over 15.  All I can say is “Poor Art” because Denny has just padded his lead in the Records Race over Art Montini.  Denny did a wide range of record lifts, from presses to deadlifts.  Denny doesn’t have any weak areas that he can’t set records in.

Dino Gym member Casey Barten just came in for a Sunday afternoon training session and ended up setting a few records.  Casey always trains Sunday afternoons, and is usually training by himself.  He wasn’t really planning to do anything but I gave him some encouragement (like saying “don’t be a sissy”) and so  he added some USAWA  records to his Sunday afternoon training session.

It was mid-afternoon (and everyone was getting worn out) and I thought the record day might be done, but in walks Chuck Cookson and his two sons, Tyeler and Matt.  We didn’t know it at the time – but the show was just beginning!! Matt, at only 16 years of age, deadlifted with a 12 inch base 484#.  Brother Tyeler showed him big brother still was stronger and pulled 507# the same way.  However, Big Poppa Chuck let the boys know “who their daddy was” and pulled 661# with a 12″ base!! Only multiple time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman has done more in the USAWA with a 728# 12 inch base DL at the 1994 Texas Deadlift Classic.  Matt and Tyeler then joined forces in TEAM lifting and set several two man records. Their Team Cheat Curl of 330# was very impressive, along with their Team Deadlift of 860#.

I want to thank everyone who attended this year’s Dino Gym Record Day.  Participation is what makes these events fun.  Sorry for the short meet report, but I got LOTS of results to enter!!!

MEET RESULTS

Dino Gym Record Day
February 13th, 2011
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Certified Officials (1-official system used on all lifts): Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Scott Tully, Mike Murdock

Chris Krenzin – Age 10, BWT 157# (Age group 10-11, Class 75K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, right hand: 97#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, left hand: 92#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 140#
Curl – Strict: 35#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 40#

Tyler Krenzin – Age 13, BWT 146# (Age group 12-13, Class 70K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, right hand: 100#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, left hand: 82#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 140#
Curl – Strict: 30#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 20#

Matt Cookson – Age 16, BWT 187# (Age group 16-17, Class 85 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 484#

Tyeler Cookson – Age 19, BWT 172# (Age group 18-19, Class 80 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 507#

Tyeler Cookson & Matt Cookson (Age group 18-19, Class 85 K)

Team Curl – Cheat: 330#
Team Deadlift: 860#
Team Clean and Jerk: 352#
Team Clean and Press: 308#

Casey Barten – Age 30, BWT 180# (Age group 20-39, Class 85K)

Lateral Raise – Standing: 70#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm: 105#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#

Scott Tully – Age 35, BWT 343# (Age group 20-39, Class 125+K)

Bench Press – Hands Together: 320#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 358#
Press – From Rack: 250#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 77#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 100#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 232#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 414#
Lateral Raise – Standing: 80#

Chuck Cookson – Age 41, BWT 271# (Age group 40-44, Class 125 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 661#
Press – From Rack, Behind Neck: 225#
Push Press – From Rack: 225#
Press – From Rack: 245#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 80#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 210#

Al Myers – Age 44, BWT 250# (Age group 40-44, Class 115K)

Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells: 240#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 220#
Snatch – Fulton Bar: 185#
Clean and Press – 12″ Base:  220#
Snatch – From Hang: 187#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 140#
Bench Dip: 230#

LaVerne Myers – Age 66, BWT 250# (Age group 65-69, Class 115K)

Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm:  120#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 120#
Crucifix: 40#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 141#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 141#
Holdout- Lowered: 30#
Holdout – Raised: 30#
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 154#
Pinch Grip – Right Hand: 62#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 77#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Snatch – Right Arm: 55#

Denny Habecker – Age 68, BWT 191# (Age group 65-69, Class 90K)

Crucifix: 50#
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 70#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 60#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 85#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 65#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 65#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 175#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 175#
Bench Dip: 135#
Press – From Rack: 135#

Mike Murdock – Age 71, BWT 236# (Age group 70-74, Class 110K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 127#
Holdout – Raised: 40#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 80#
Crucifix: 80#
Clean and Press: 132#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 62#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 60#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 60#
Snatch – From Hang: 95#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 95#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Snatch – Right Arm: 55#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 145#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm: 90#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 224#
Bench Dip: 65#
Lateral Raise – Standing: 60#

Successful Fundraiser

by Al Myers

The silent auction at the Dino Challenge raised $800 for the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.

After an unbelievable day of lifting at the Dino Old-Time Strongman Challenge,  a silent auction was conducted as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.   My training partner Mark Mitchell and his wife are actively involved with this compassionate organization.  Their concerns are genuine, and this group has helped HUNDREDS of pets find new homes and bring love and happiness to many, many families.  This group does not receive financial help outside of private donations and fundraisers like this.  ALL money raised will go directly where it should go – to help in finding homes for dogs and cats.  It was a fantastic feeling to be able to help them in this mission.   All together,  $800 was raised!!!!  It was my honor to present this check to Mark Mitchell and the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter on behalf of the Dino Gym and all USAWA participants who donated to this auction.  THANK YOU to everyone who was part of this!!

Band Set-Up for Squat Training

by Al Myers

Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, reps out a set of 8 with Band Squats (450 pounds on the bar, plus 150 pounds added band tension at the lockout).

John McKean’s recent USAWA Daily News story about how he uses bands in training got me thinking about one of the biggest uses of JumpStretch Bands in the Dino Gym.  Bands are VERY beneficial in adding resistance to many different exercises – but I believe the best exercise they “assist” is the squat.  This is nothing new as Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has been preaching the benefits of bands for many years now!  However, we have a band set-up for squats that is very unique, and something I would like to share with other lifters. First of all, there are two DISTINCT ways bands may be attached to a squat bar.  One is overhead, where the band tension is added at the BOTTOM of the squat.  The other is at the base, where band tension is added at the top of the squat, or at lockout.  Both have there uses, but after experimenting with both set-ups I prefer the bands to be attached LOW, so as you ascend out of the bottom of a squat the bands stretch and give you added resistance at the lockout.  I think it is best for the bands to go completely “slack” as you hit the bottom squat position and “kick in” immediately after initial ascent.  I like the feeling of “pushing against” the bands instead of the bands “pulling you up”.  I feel good squat technique is ENHANCED when “pushing against” the bands.  By the weight on the bar being lighter in the bottom position, it allows you to maintain good form in keeping your hips back and shoulders up.  By starting in the correct position, you are better able to maintain good form throughout the rest of the squat. Another reason I like the bottom attachment is that it just doesn’t seem right to me to use bands to make an exercise easier!

The top 3-prong hook band attachment, which has three different bar attachment points to adjust band tension for lifters of different heights.

Much has been written about what is the best tension at the top position, or lockout.  I feel around 25% added resistance (compared to bar weight) with bands  is about right.  This can be accomplished with two Blue JumpStretch Bands, one attached on each side.   Others have different opinions on this.  When I designed a band attachment set-up for the Dino Gym Monster Cage, several things I wanted to achieve.  First, I wanted an easy set up that could be changed quickly between lifters who may be of different heights while maintaining the same band tension at the top end for everyone.  Second, I wanted a band set-up that would “roll” out with the lifter as they set up for the squat to make band squatting safer.  Most band attachments on cages have a distinct concrete points where they attach, which makes setting up for the squat difficult. Third, I wanted to make the band set-up to achieve a 150 pound “overload” at the top position (approximately 25% increase since most of the guys in the gym squat over 600 pounds).   I spent a little time thinking of these problems, and designed a set-up that solves all of them! We have been using this band attachment set-up for several years now and couldn’t be happier!

The bottom band attachment. Notice the roller the band attaches to that "rolls back" as the lifter sets up for the squat.

The bottom attachment problem was solved by attaching the bands to a roller that “rolled back” as the lifter steps back with the bar on the back.  The problem of attaching  the bands to the bar was solved by designing a 3-prong hook which could easily be “looped” over the bar next to the inside sleeves not interfering with hand placement.  It can easily be changed between lifters. Our Monster Cage has bar hooks that adjust with hydraulic jacks so each lifter can have an optimum start height.  This allows all gym members, regardless of height, to be able to work out together.  We can change the bar height and re-adjust the band hookup in less than 30 seconds.  The length between each three-prong band hook was initially based on the heights of three gym members – Lon at 5′7″, myself at 6 foot, and Scott at 6′5″.  Lon uses the bottom hook, myself the middle hook, and Scott the top hook.  Each hook set-up yields EXACTLY 150 pounds added band tension at the top!  It couldn’t work out any better than that!!

I hope these ideas will help others in properly setting up a band attachment for their squat training.  If anyone has more specific questions, please contact me a amyers@usawa.com

The Dino Gym in the Year 2060

by Al Myers

Big Al in 2060 (ha-ha)

I fumble my way into the Dino Gym for another workout. I can’t believe it has been over 70 years since the first weight was lifted in the Dino Gym, and I’m still at this obsessive behavior of lifting weights. And especially now, because the sheer thought of getting stronger is a distant memory, only stirred when my wrinkled hands grab a weightlifting bar and stimulates the thought of a long ago personal record. But besides the passage of time, and the fact that I just had my 94 birthday, not much has really changed in the gym. We still lift on all the equipment we acquired back at the turn of the century, and the same guys are still the core gym members. Tuesdays nights have become legendary in all of our minds, as this has always been the day that we have our heaviest workout of the week. These workouts come and go, but there are will always be those that I will never forget.

As has been the custom, I am always the first one to get to the gym. I like to do this because it gives me time to “clear my mind” and focus on my workout goals of the day without distraction. That is the one thing that I HAVEN’T lost – the passion to lift weights and the joy that comes with succeeding in this ongoing battle, despite the weights I lift are less than my warm-ups 50 years ago. I start my routine, and after several pops and crackles in my back, I finally get my lifting shoes on. I consider that my first stretching exercise. As I’m looking at the pictures on the gym walls, I think about the good ole’ days, and in walks my longtime training partner Chad. Chad is still one of the youngsters of the gym at only 88, and walks without a limp. I’ve always been envious of Chad’s natural abilities, and even more now that I refused to get that hip of mine replaced, and got to use a dreaded cane to move around while Chad walks like a youngster. On top of that, I see now the benefits of Chad keeping his head shaved all of his life. I counted my hair the other day and finally my age outnumbers my hair follicles. Ever ambitious, Chad is ready to start lifting! I say, “let’s warm up with some light benches”. Unbeknownst to Chad, I like to start our workouts out with the bench because that is one lift I can still get him on. I have always been able to sucker Chad into anything. I lie down on the bench and crank out 5 solid reps with the bar. I once told myself that when I could no longer bench the bar it would be time to hang it up. I’m not so sure about that anymore, as the bar seems to be getting heavier with time. “Chad, give me a hand so I can get off this bench before I fall asleep”. As you get older, workout partners take on new roles besides just spotting you on a heavy set, you rely on them to help you up when you fall down, and with simple tasks like helping you put on your lifting belt.

Next in comes part of the Salina crew – Mark, Darren and Scott. Mark is the elder of the gym, and soon will be the first gym member over 100. At least he has the Super Masters Class to look forward to and the many possibilities of new age group records. Mark in the old days was the biggest of all of us, but now he barely tops 200 pounds. His wife talked him into liposuction many years ago and now he has the slimmest abdomen of all of us. He even has a handful of dark hair still left on his head. He doesn’t look a day over 70! Darren is the next one in the door, banging his walker on the doorframe to announce to all of us that he made 4 whole workouts this month! Like THAT is something to be proud of, but some things NEVER change. However all those years of pacing himself with his workouts has helped him in the end, because besides his four archilles tendon reattachments he is still in pretty good shape. Scott brings up the rear. I remember the day when Scott was the first in the gym among the Salina guys, but now he is the last one in, and walks like a zombie on a caffeine overdose. I told him years ago that strongman was going to eventually tear him up, but he wouldn’t listen to me, and he kept competing until he destroyed every joint and muscle in his body. I have always admired Scott’s tenacity about training, and marveled at his will to push himself through pain and continue to lift. But he has paid the price for it! I have lost count of his joint replacements and back fusions. “Where’s Chuck?”, I comment to the guys. “Oh, he’s not going to make it this week, but I did see him squat 200 pounds last week”, said Darren. I think to myself “that’s Chuck, a gifted lifter who can still squat big weights and miss Tuesday night workouts”. I have always wished I had his squatting ability. Finally in walks Big John, and he’s sweating profusely. “That walk from the car was a killer!”, he remarks. He huffs and puffs a few times as he collapses on the bench. Even after all these years he still doesn’t realize that his conditioning is his biggest nemesis! I look at him and ask how his cardio training was coming along. Big John replied, “well, I hope to only use a quarter of tank of oxygen tonight”. “That would be an improvement, all that oxygen you use makes me light headed”, I respond.

The crew is finally assembled for the workout. It’s time to get started. I declare to the group, “tonight’s gonna be a big night for us, we got that All-Round Postal Match with the JWC to do, and we haven’t let them beat us in over 70 years, and I don’t want it to start now!!”

Run up the Flag

by Thom Van Vleck

The United States Flag flies with pride above the Dino Gym on top of a 40 foot Flag Pole.

I remember the first Highland Games/strongman contest I promoted. I remember putting a huge amount of work into it and wondering if anyone was going to show up and thinking, “Well, if nobody shows, then I won’t do it again”. The meet started at 9:00 and at 8:30 NOBODY was there! Then by 9:00 there were 27 throwers and about 50 spectators! I remember feeling relieved!

My point, many of us promote meets of different levels. I have never met a meet director that has not gotten fed up at some point. It’s a damn thankless job and everybody has a criticism and a gripe…..usually behind your back. You can charge an entry fee and give a shirt, award, maybe lunch, and let them destroy your equipment and they will act like they are doing you a favor showing up and they feel like you are going to retire on the immense wealth brought in by their entry fee.

However, the reality is that MOST guys appreciate the effort. MOST guys understand and get it. What some of us need to remember is that holding a meet year after year is like raising the flag every morning. Just because there’s nobody there to salute it doesn’t mean that nobody cares about whether it came up or not. Believe me, when I was in the Marine Corps, Marines always had flag duty and I was on it often. It was the one duty I volunteered for. Get up before dawn, put on your dress blues, get shined up, do the silent march down to the flag pole, go through all the rituals of doing it…..and most often there was not a soul around to see it. But it was a must that everyone know its up and there and waving in the wind to greet the day because if it’s not, then it becomes more and more likely it won’t be there the next day and then the day will come when it’s gone forever!

Recently, Bill Clark, who has “run the flag up the flagpole” more than anyone in the USAWA cancelled the Goerner meet. Quite frankly, the guy has done his share. Just like there’s a Marine running that flag up at the bases in Pensacola, Florida, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and San Diego, CA. I took my turn, now it’s somebody else’s. That flag gets run up because it has a deeper meaning, and it means a lot to those who believe in it. The USAWA is NOT the USA, but it means a lot to those involved in it and somebody ought to run that flag up, otherwise accept defeat.

I know someday I won’t be running the meets I run for lots of reasons (my demise being the most likely at this point)…..but maybe somebody will grab that flag and run with it. Like I grabbed the JWC flag from my Uncle’s and ran with it.

JWC Straight Weight Postal

Heavyweights Battle it out in Postal Challenge

By Thom Van Vleck

Team Dino Gym wins the Straight Weight Postal Challenge. Pictured from left to right: Scott Tully, Al Myers, and John Conner

Two teams participated in the challenge and the Dino Gym pulled out the victory.  This meet was a new concept for a USAWA meet and we will see if it catches on.  The idea being there would be no formulas used, the winners decided on who lifted the most weight…period.  I proposed the idea of the “straight weight” meet to get some of the bigger guys to come out and participate and as a result, some big boys showed up.  The Dino Gym had a combined weight that was a “Big Al Bacon n’Eggs style breakfast” short of a half ton at 991lbs.  The JWC was a relatively svelte 915lbs.  The average weight of the lifters involved was 318lbs!  I can only guess what that weight would have been had Al not had to replace his original team member, Mark Mitchell, who had to withdraw with a back injury!  Al’s paltry 255lbs brought the average way down!!!

I hope this meet was taken as intended:  Just another alternative and one that the Big Boy’s could embrace as their own.  I know my guys had fun doing it and hopefully it will motivate them to do some more USAWA lifting!  Oh, and one more thing, I calculated the age and weight factors just to see the outcome….and the Dino Gym doesn’t want to know those results!

Full Meet Results:

Officials for Dino Gym Team:  Al Myers and Scott Tully

Official for JWC:  Thom Van Vleck

Dino Gym Team: Al Myers (44 yrs, 255lbs), Scott Tully (34 yrs, 344lbs) John Conner (25 yrs, 392lbs)

Jackson Weightlifting Club: Thom Van Vleck (46yrs, 295lbs), John O’Brien (42 years, 285lbs), Josh Hettinger (29yrs, 335lbs)

Push Press – From Rack

  1. John Conner 380lbs
  2. Josh Hettinger 335lbs
  3. John O’Brien 300lbs, Scott Tully 300lbs, Al Myers 300lbs
  4. Thom Van Vleck 255lbs

DG: 980lbs & JWC: 890lbs

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″

  1. John Conner 500lbs
  2. Scott Tully 420lbs
  3. Josh Hettinger 400lbs, Al Myers 400lbs
  4. John O’Brien 380lbs
  5. Thom Van Vleck 280lbs

DG: 1320lbs & JWC: 1060lbs

Continental to Chest

  1. John Conner 385lbs
  2. John O’Brien 335lbs
  3. Al Myers 325lbs, Scott Tully 325lbs
  4. Thom Van Vleck 315lbs
  5. Josh Hettinger 275lbs

DG: 1085lbs & JWC: 925lbs

Cheat Curl

  1. John Conner 250lbs
  2. John O’Brien 235lbs
  3. Thom Van Vleck 215lbs, Josh Hettinger 215lbs
  4. Al Myers 201lbs
  5. Scott Tully 181lbs

JWC: 665lbs & DG: 632lbs

Shoulder Drop

  1. John O’Brien 95lbs, Josh Hettinger 95lb
  2. Thom Van Vleck 85lbs
  3. John Conner 45lbs, Al Myers 45lbs
  4. Scott Tully 30lbs

JWC:  275lbs & DG:   120lbs

Totals: 1st Place: Dino Gym 4087lbs, 2nd Place: JWC 3835lbs

To Be Young and Strong!

by Al Myers

Colby Duranleau, of the Dino Gym, shown training the log last weekend in the gym. Colby is 19 years old, and at 6'6", 320 pounds bodyweight has a bright strength future ahead of him. His current training personal best with the log is 315 pounds.

It is always exciting to me when some new, young lifter joins the gym that shows great promise.  A few months ago Colby Duranleau started training at the Dino Gym and has made unbelievable progress in his training since then.   Those of us that have been around the iron game for quite a while (I hate to admit it – but that includes ME!) have the responsibility to help guide the “next generation” into the sport.  I think of those that helped me get started many years ago.  If it wasn’t for their guidance and encouragement, I might not have stayed after training and competing.

This is so true with our organization, the USAWA.  The other “veterans”, like myself, need to take the time to teach new, younger lifters how to do the All-Round Lifts.  We aren’t going to be around forever, and the younger lifters are the future of our sport.  Just look at our USAWA President Denny Habecker and his protege Kohl Hess as an example.  Kohl is “only 16″ and already has great proficiency in the technique of many of the all-round lifts, due to the instruction given by Denny.  I was so impressed with Frank Ciavattone at the USAWA Nationals, where he and his son Frankie both participated.  It is obvious that Frank is doing his part in “passing down the tradition” to his son, who someday I predict will be one of the best lifters in the USAWA, the same as Frank has been for many years.   The USAWA will grow if each one of us takes the time to teach and mentor just one new lifter in the sport of all-round weightlifting.

My Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine.

The other day I was inspecting  all the equipment in the Dino Gym for any possible use damage (which there wasn’t) and it dawned on me that I have made all of the equipment in the gym, except one piece.  This piece is very unique – and it is the  Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine.  Dino Gym member Scott Tully donated it to the gym several years ago. It had been in  long-term storage at a local college for many years, and was “found” when the college was cleaning out and discarding old items from the college’s old weight-room.  It is still is great shape and now gets lots of use by the Dino Gym members.  Before Scott brought this grip machine in, I had never seen one before – even though in my younger training days I spent time training in Nautilus Facilities.  In the 80’s Nautilus was VERY popular and most towns had a Nautilus Gym.  I always imagined that this grip machine probably never was a big seller, as Nautilus main sales pitch at the time seemed to be aimed at the businessman who wanted to get in a full body workout in 30 minutes.  Most fitness lifters are not too concerned about having a strong grip.

This Nautilus Gripper focuses on the development of the  forearm muscles.  As you squeeze using both hands, the leverage arm rises.  Plates can be added to the end of the leverage arm to increase the difficulty. It also helps with the grip strength that you develop from training grippers, as the squeezing motion is very similar.  I always wondered how old this Nautilus Gripper was, as it appears to be an “original”.  Recently I posed this question on the IronHistory Forum.  Robert Francis gave me the answer I was looking for. (THANKS ROBERT! )  He explained this leverage grip machine was first manufactured by a Nautilus plant in Mexia, Texas in 1985.  It was one of the original Leverage Nautilus Machines.  It filled a line of other Nautilus Leverage Machines that included items like the Leg Press Machine and the Pullover Nautilus Machine.  Robert went on to explain that these Leverage Machines were the seed product of Hammer Strength, the company that formed after Arthur Jones sold off this line in 1986 to Travis Ward.

I feel very fortunate to have this unique piece of Nautilus equipment in my gym.  It is in a gym that appreciates it’s worth – and has members who will use it for its intended purpose to build a strong grip.  If anyone else has equipment in their gyms that they would like to see “highlighted” here in the USAWA Daily News, please send me a story and pictures.  Lifters ALWAYS like to hear how other lifters train, and learn about equipment that builds strength.

The Club Awards Program

by Al Myers

Dino Gym - 2009 USAWA Club of the Year. Left to Right: Scott Tully, Al Myers, and Mark Mitchell

The USAWA Awards program got off to a great start at the 2010 Nationals with the presentations of the 2009 Awards.  All of these awards, with the exception of the Club Awards, were based on membership nominations and votes.  I determined  the Club Awards using a very simple point system, that recognizes USAWA participation and meet promotions. I like how this system is set up and plan to use it again  for  next year.  I am going  to outline the particulars of it here so there will be no mystery how the Club of the Year is selected for 2010. To be eligible, a club must have paid their club dues for the year and be  listed as “current” on the Member Clubs page. Another stipulation is that the previous year’s Club of the Year is not eligible the following year.  This club will have the honor of presenting the new  Club of the Year Awards at the National Meeting.

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1.  One point awarded to the club  for EACH  USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application.  This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.

2.  Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.  Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.

3.  Three points are awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.

4.  Four bonus points are awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

This is a very simple system yet covers all the basics of a club being involved in the USAWA.  It encourages clubs to host competitions and recruit members to the USAWA.  It gives incentive to clubs to encourage club members to attend our big meets.  Plus – this system will be easy for me to calculate each club’s points at the end of the year since all these things are recorded on the website. I believe the future growth of the USAWA will be driven by clubs.  All it takes is one new club that has an interest in All-Round Weightlifting.  First the club hosts a few local gym meets, second the club gets their lifters involved in these meets,  and third the USAWA grows!   It couldn’t get any more simple than that.

I want to welcome new USAWA member Stephen Santangelo, from Las Vegas Nevada, to the USAWA!

Tuesday Night at the Dino Gym

by Al Myers

This week's Tuesday night training group at the Dino Gym.

“Man – I love Tuesday nights!!”  That is my feeling every Tuesday night at the Dino Gym, because that is our club’s big group workout night of the week.  EVERYONE tries to make Tuesday night to train. The Dino Gym is a club gym, and membership is by invitation only.  We probably have 30 plus members that train at the gym at least once per month, and many more who live a ways off and just show up for a workout every now and then.  It is a “key gym” – meaning that each member gets a key that allows them to train when it is convenient for them, sometimes with another gym member and sometimes by themselves.  I often do several of my workouts by myself in the early mornings before work.  Occasionally, others are on the same schedule and I get someone to train with, but not always.  The Dino Gym caters to several aspects of strength training.  We have powerlifters, highland game throwers, olympic lifters, strongmen competitors, and of course my lifting interest, All-Round Weightlifting. It is quite interesting just watching the different gym members train – everyone has a different training focus and routine.  Most all members are actively competing in a strength sport and different members are always preparing for an upcoming competition.  There is NEVER  down time in the Dino Gym!

But Tuesday nights we all come together and train as a group  for a workout.  I “hit the gym” around five, and often don’t leave till things are “wrapped up” which often is as late as ten.  Some guys come early and leave early, while others come a little later and finish later. I like to be part of ALL OF IT!!  The problem is that when I’m in the gym I want to train, so I keep doing more and more until everyone’s done and I’m totally wiped out!  Four to five hours of continuous training is seldom recommended by ANYONE,  and I can just imagine the “experts” would say I am over-training. But I have done this for years and seem to never tire of it, and always look forward to Tuesdays. One thing it does for me is build up my training endurance, which I feel helps me on days of competition.  A long day of competition is nothing compared to what I put  myself through weekly on Tuesday nights.

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson pulling his FIFTH rep at 600 pounds in the deadlift!

One of the things that makes me love “Tuesday Nights” is the hard-nosed, all-out training that is going on.  There seems to be energy and excitement  in the air, and it is contagious!  Everyone in the weight-room has one unified purpose – and that is to get stronger. If you are interested in doing a sissy workout, the Dino Gym is not the place to hang out at.  We don’t ALLOW anyone to “take it easy” on Tuesday nights – if YOU don’t know how to train hard we’ll introduce you to 20 rep squat sets or some timed deadlift singles.  I find myself “feeding” on everyone’s training intensity and I just want to push myself all the harder.  Watching efforts like  Scott hitting set after set in time squats with over 400 pounds, Chuck hitting heavy sets of 5 in the deadlifts, and Mark using weights over 500 pounds in the Zercher Harness Lift provides visual motivation more than words would ever do.   I lift harder than I would by myself, mainly because I don’t want to let the guys down.

As I said the Dino Gym has a very diverse group of members.  We have members who have been around forever, like founding members Mark Mitchell and Chuck Cookson, to young men just getting started, like Tyler and Matt and several others. We have inexperienced lifters just getting started, and we have VERY advanced competitors, like professional strongman John Conner.  Everyone helps everyone  get stronger.  That is what the Dino Weightlifting Club is all about.

Club Challenge

USAWA Club Challenge

by John McKean

Group Picture from the 2010 USAWA Club Challenge

It started as a rainy day, but with snow freshly gone, temperatures up, daylight savings about to begin (the promise of longer fun-filled days!), and lifters traveling in from Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, and Lebanon (the town, not the country!), we couldn’t help but begin the morning on a real high! Art & I got things opened up early and prepared at the VFW dungeon, after which Art drove the short distance across the bridge over a rising & fast moving Ohio River to his home to arouse the still slumbering Kansas contingent of Al, Chad, and Rudy!

Meanwhile Big Ernie Beath & his folks popped out of their motor home, parked right outside the VFW, and prepared for an early record assault! The long drive from Maryland the night before, through pounding rain, didn’t give ole Ern the best rest, but he looked all of his 400# worth of awesome power! He warmed up, and when officials arrived, he started the morning with an awesome push press, which unfortunately didn’t hit the groove, but sure woke everyone up when the 410# hit the floor! Passing the reload, Ern went to a few “easy” french presses (tricep extension, standing), ending with a strict, phenomenal 201 pounds! Now EVERYONE was psyched to begin lifting!!

Plates were loaded and we began our “round robin” (first “robin” of Spring? Sorry, couldn’t resist saying that!) approach to the challenge lifts of the 2 bar (2 inches thick) vertical lift,one arm dumbbell snatch, reflex clean & push press, and thick bar straddle lift. As Al noted, these particular lifts are not often contested and gave us all a chance to go for personal bests & records! And we discovered quickly that vertical bar lifts can be slippery on humid early mornings, though Chad offered a unique approach by lifting only his right vertical bar on the heavy attempts – maybe a new lift to be introduced will be his new “see-saw vertical bar lift”!!

Old Art Montini, at the high end of the age groups, was his usual efficient self – as astounded contestants noted “the ole man never missed an attempt!” He rarely does – a habit acquired from always training at 4 AM every morning & not wanting to wake everyone up! At the young end of the spectrum was Denny Habecker’s 15-year-old phenomenon, Kohl, who had his brother drive him cross state, starting at 4 that morning! Kohl made Denny proud (Denny couldn’t make the meet, being hampered with bronchial pneunomia and with strict orders from his doctor – and Judy(!!!!) – not to travel.) with new records in most of the events & especially impressive flair for the quick lifts. His explosive one arm snatch with long hair flying was a meet highlight for me (maybe if I trained that lift as well as Kohl, my own hair – all 3 strands of it – would regrow!!!). Talk about a young “Samson”!!

Man, was it neat to meet Rudy! This 70-some “youngster” really has the enthusiasm to lift and kept us all energetic with his passion for the sport! From what I hear, Rudy hasn’t been away from his wide open spaces of home much, so spending time in the crowded, old former steel towns of Ambridge/ Aliquippa must have reminded him “You ain’t in Kansas anymore!.” But his strength & form were awe inspiring!

Of course the old vets of olympic and powerlifting, Scott Schmidt from Cleveland and Big Al, did their usual efficient jobs with peak weights! Each captained their groups to team wins -Scott (and Kohl) took the 2- man team award (yeah, entering a 3-man team challenge with two people is like showing up at a gunfight with a knife!) and Al led the Kansas men to the overall 3-man challenge title!

The lifting concluded, the Ambridge & Kansas guys, who didn’t have to travel home right away, enjoyed the home cooking of Ambridge’s famed Maple Restaurant to ravenously devour the renowned roast beef. I believe Al & Chad set a new restaurant record, or would have liked to, on consuming their secret beef gravy! As we all said our goodbyes, they were still talking lifting, fishing, basketball, and looking just ahead to the ice cream store next where Art was leading them!

Results:

USAWA Club Challenge
Ambridge VFW BBC
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
March 13th, 2010

Meet Director:  John McKean

Officials – 3 officials used on all lifts: Art Montini, John McKean, Scott Schmidt, Al Myers, Chad Ullom

Lifts:  Snatch – One Arm, Dumbbell, Reflex Clean and Push Press, Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″, Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar

Results:

1. Dino Gym – 2715.08 adjusted points

Lifter Age
BWT DB Snatch
Reflex C&PP
VB DL
Jefferson
Al Myers
43 252 146 (R)
224 338 533
Chad Ullom
38 239 136 (R)
245 338 453
Rudy Bletscher
74 221 50 (R)
88 258 255

2.  Ambridge VFW Barbell Club – 2368.66 adjusted points

Lifter Age BWT DB Snatch
Reflex C&PP
VB DL
Jefferson
John McKean
64 174 51 (R)
103 283 353
Art Montini
82 174 35 (L)
65 178 210
Ernie Beath
28 400 121 (R)
251 338 323

3.  Habecker’s Gym – 1709.41 adjusted points

Lifter Age BWT DB Snatch
Reflex C&PP
VB DL
Jefferson
Scott Schmidt
57 259 92 (R)
198 358 303
Kohl Hess
15 272 96 (R)
138 313 407


BWT is bodyweight. All lifts recorded in pounds.

Extra Attempts for Records:
Ernie Beath  – French Press 201 pounds
Chad Ullom – Reflex Clean and Push Press 265 pounds
John McKean – One Arm Dumbbell Snatch 67 pounds (Right)
Al Myers – Reflex Clean and Push Press 250 pounds
Art Montini – Reflex Clean and Push Press 75 pounds

My Shot-Loaded Dumbbell

by Al Myers

I'm performing a 130# One Arm Dumbbell Snatch with my shot loaded dumbbell.

I have always been intrigued by shot loaded globe barbells and shot loaded dumbbells. These were very common training implements of the Old-Time Strongmen, and at one time every professional strongman or circus strongman had one they would use in their performances. Today shot loaded equipment is not very available commercially, so I decided I would just build my own shot loaded dumbbell. My design requirements were very simple: make a dumbbell that could be shot loaded to around 200 pounds full, very durable if dropped, and have a handle that would be optimum for lifting. I was very pleased how my project turned out, until I had to go buy lead shot and discovered how much it has increased in price since my days of reloading shotgun shells 20 years ago!

Years ago they even allowed shot loaded barbells to be used in the Olympic Games. The last Olympic Weightlifting Games that allowed this was in 1924, in Paris, France. Only one lifter took advantage of this, and that athlete was the famous Old-Time French weightlifter Charles Rigoulot. He ended up winning the Gold Medal in the Heavyweight class that year. In the early 1900’s Alan Calvert, owner of the Milo Barbell Company, marketed shot filled barbells and dumbbells. There was a good market for shot loaded equipment then because metal plates were not readily available and a lifter could get by with just one piece of lifting equipment that could be “filled” to the weight of a lifter’s choosing. One of the most popular shot loaded dumbbells is the one owned by Louis Cyr, which now resides at the York Barbell Museum. Cyr’s shot loaded dumbbell weighed 202# empty and 273# fully loaded.

The Dino Gym's Shot Loaded Dumbbell

I love training one arm dumbbell swings and snatches – and these were the first exercises I tried out my new dumbbell with. An obvious advantage with the shot loaded dumbbell is that the weight is more “compact” when it is loaded heavy compared to a traditional dumbbell loaded with 10# plates. However, I soon found out that unless the dumbbell is loaded full the lead shot will “shift” and create balance issues when put overhead. This is very noticeable when doing swings with it compared to a plate loaded dumbbell. Another problem is that you got to remember what you loaded it to last. I have changed the weight of mine, forgot I did, only to be “shocked” when lifting it the next time thinking it was loaded lighter. After all, it looks the same at 100 pounds as 200 pounds! I really can’t see shot loaded dumbbells making a comeback in today’s lifting world. They are a mess to fill and empty – even with a funnel you get shot everywhere. Most people nowadays have great fear of lead toxicity, with due cause, so precautions need to be taken in handling the lead shot. But all of this is worth it to an old weightlifter like myself – because when lifting a shot loaded dumbbell you feel like you are in the company of the great Old Time Strongmen like Louis Cyr, Charles Rigoulot and Eugen Sandow.

Rounded Back Platform Deadlifts

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Ryan Batchman demonstrating the proper way to do a Rounded Back Platform Deadlift.

We have our “Big Workout Night” at the Dino Gym on Tuesday night, and usually have a large turnout of lifters.  Everyone has their own workout, but it is the night to go heavy so most exercises trained involve the back and legs.  Lots of squats and deadlifts!  We start at 6:00 and sometimes don’t finish until 10:00 or 11:00.  The last part of the workout usually involves doing exercises that help with recovery or flexibility, or more commonly referred to as “accessory exercises”.  I am a firm believer in training heavy to get stronger, but at the same time don’t overlook lighter exercises as a way to supplement your heavy work. We constantly change these exercises from workout to workout as this is our way of “winding down” a hard workout. We have several back accessory exercises we do but I want to explain one that is not well known, which we call the Rounded Back Platform Deadlift.  This exercise could be a great addition to your back training program.

The Rounded Back Platform Deadlift is done is this manner. First, you place a foot on two different raised platforms, and place the weight on a loader in front of you between your feet. It is best to have a loader that a handle can be attached to so weight can be added. The height of the handle should be just above the level of the feet, but not as high up on the lower leg as a loaded bar on a lifting platform.  Use an overhand grip when picking up the weight, and with a bend of the knees allow the lower back to round over.  When rising, stand and come to a complete lockout. Lower the weight as low as possible without allowing the weights to touch or rest on the floor.  Keep constant tension on the body at all times. Perform the repetitions at a controlled pace, paying attention to keeping the proper form of rounding the back when rising up with the weight.  We perform sets of 10 reps, adding weight to each subsequent set. Usually we will do between 4 and 6 sets.  We rotate quickly between us and try to keep the rest minimal.  This exercise is not about maximum exertion – but rather about stimulating blood flow to the lower back and legs. You will feel “the burn” in your hamstrings after performing this exercise.

The Rounded Back Platform Deadlift improves flexibility because the weight has a deep pickup that requires a good stretch.  The cross-over benefits to an All-Rounder is that it will help with rounded back type lifts, such as the Zercher Lift or Hack Lift.  It is also a very good exercise for Strongmen to help build strength for Stone Lifting, which is also a rounded back type of lifting.

Dino Gym Record Day

Records Fall at Dino Record Day

by Al Myers

Dino Gym Record Day Participants Front left to right: Chad Ullom, Molly Myers, Al Myers Back left to right: Dave Glasgow, Darren Barnhart

This past weekend was the weekend for the Dino Gym’s double header – the Grip Challenge on Saturday and the Record Day on Sunday. Five lifters made it to the Record Day yesterday – two of which competed the day before, Dave Glasgow and Chad Ullom. The youngest lifter to compete was my youngest daughter Molly. She picked a diverse group of lifts to set records in – from dumbbell lifts to squats and deadlifts. Her highlight was pulling a 185# Trap Bar Deadlift. Chad Ullom came with his eyes set on upping his One Arm Deadlift Records. He accomplished his goals – 413 pounds with the left and 419 pounds with the right. Darren Barnhart did some great One Arm Dumbbell Deadlifts and also put up the highest mark of ALL-TIME in the Rectangular Fix at 132 pounds. He had more in him! Darren and I went head to head in the Dumbbell Walk – with him edging me out 100 pounds to 95 pounds. Both of our marks exceeded the previous Dino Gym Record. My highlight was finally getting an official Roman Chair Benchpress of 200 pounds. Dave Glasgow made it to his first record day – and did he go to work! He first demonstrated his great flexibility by doing a DEEP Overhead Squat of 160 pounds. He mixed in some overhead lifting with One Arm Clean and Jerks and One Arm Snatches. Dave is willing to try any lift in the USAWA. He picks up on the lifts very quickly. His years of throwing in the Highland Games obviously help him tremendously – as Dave is very athletic for a 50 year old. As Dave often says, “I lift to throw, not throw to lift.”

Overall, this has been a great weekend of competitions. I want to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to lift this weekend at the Dino Gym.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day

Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

February 14th, 2010

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (3 officials used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom, and Darren Barnhart

Results:

Molly Myers (Female, 11 years old, 130 pounds bodyweight)

Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm 30#

Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm 30#

Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm 30#

Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm 30#

Squat – 12″ Base 100#

Deadlift – Trap Bar 185#

Chad Ullom (38 years old, 240 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Left Arm 413#

Deadlift – Right Arm 419#

Miller Clean and Jerk 121#

Scott Lift 254#

Rectangular Fix 100#

Good Morning 230#

Gardner – Full 100#

Darren Barnhart (42 years old, 295 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm 305#

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm 305#

Dumbbell Walk 100#

Rectangular Fix 132#

Al Myers (43 years old, 253 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm 175#

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm 165#

Dumbbell Walk 95#

Scott Lift 254#

Rectangular Fix 100#

Bench Press – Roman Chair 200#

Dave Glasgow (56 years old, 251 pounds bodyweight

Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm 198#

Squat – Overhead 160#

Squat – Front 265#

Steinborn Squat 242#

Clean and Push Press 176#

Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar 198#

Scott Lift 154#

Maxey Press 170#

Push Press – From Rack 210#

Good Morning 135#

Clean and Jerk – Left Arm 100#

Snatch – Left Arm 100#

Dave Brown

by Al Myers

Dave Brown becomes ONLY the fourth person to ever pick up the Dino Gym's Inch Dumbbell Replica.

This past week the Dino Gym had a surprise visitor for our Tuesday night workout. It was my old friend Dave Brown, who was on vacation and decided to “stop by” and pay me a visit. He picked a good day – because Tuesday is our BIG NIGHT in the gym. This a big DEAL for the Dino Gym – having a STRENGTH CELEBRITY join us for a workout. It has been a few years since I have seen Dave – but he is still as big and strong as he used to be. Dave stands 6′3″ and weighs a little over 350 pounds – but carries his weight very well. His build reminds me of Paul Anderson when Paul was in his younger days. Dave has been a top level professional Highland Game athlete for 15 years. Before this, he was a record setting amateur athlete with the 28# and 56# weights for distance. Dave now resides in Redding, California and works as an engineer for a timber company. He is married to Shauna, and they have two children, a son Taylor (10 years old) and a daughter Arabella (2 years old).

Dave currently holds the WORLD RECORD in the 56# weight for height with a toss of 20′1″, which he set in 2006. I remember when I started throwing in the Highland Games (over 20 years ago) and athletes would “talk about 20 feet” in the WOB with anticipation that maybe someday someone would top that mark. Much like Olympic Lifters talking about a 600 pound Clean and Jerk. It seemed like an impossibility at the time, but the hope was always there that a SUPERMAN would come along and make the impossible happen. Well, that SUPERMAN is Dave Brown. Yet, Dave is as modest as they come. I have known him for close to 20 years and he is the same guy now as when he first started throwing. I remember many years ago when Dave was a 19 year old kid living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was just starting in the games. Dan DeWelt commissioned me to “come down to Tulsa” to put on a Highland Games Clinic for new throwers, as I was the only Highland Games Pro around in the Midwest in those days. That was the first time I met Dave, and when we got to the weight over bar and he was matching me throw for throw – I knew he was going to be something special someday in the Highland Games. For a couple of years Dave would drive to my place so we could train together. He started going to more games. It wasn’t long before Dave turned professional and we were seeing and competing with each other several weekends a summer. And then it wasn’t long before Dave was far surpassing ALL of my throwing distances!!

I introduced Dave to an All-Round lift I knew he would excel with - the One Arm Barbell Snatch. In his first workout ever he snatched an unbelievable 170 pounds!!

Dave is a “student of the game”, and when mixed with his amazing genetic ability and work ethic, has accomplished things that others just dream of. I really believe if Dave had decided on focusing on another sport besides the

Dave has tremendous squatting ability. Here he breaks a Dino Gym record in the Zercher Harness Squat to a 15" box with a lift of 515 pounds.

Highland Games he would have been just as successful. In 1998, he tried Strongman Competition and with minimal implement training won the NAS Heavyweight Championships! And this was against seasoned Strongmen. I wonder what his Strongman career could have been if THAT was his focus? Dave also has a WORLD CLASS grip without working on it much. Many years ago at a Pro Highland Games in Arlington, Texas I will never forget him closing the #3 COC grippers with ease. This was in the days when that was a BIG DEAL! Carl Braun brought along a #3 gripper to “Challenge” Dave over our noon lunch break. I don’t even know if Dave had ever seen one before – but while he was sitting there with a sandwich in one hand and the gripper in the other he SMASHED it shut! Then he switched hands with the sandwich and #3 gripper – and did it again with his other hand! I’ll never forget how nonchalantly he did this! It just wasn’t that big of deal to him at the time. World renowned Strength Historian Dale Harder has been measuring athletes grips with a Baseline Dynamometer to get a very accurate reading of gripping strength. He has done this for over ten years now and has tested 1000’s of athletes. To date, Dave has the HIGHEST Dynamometer reading of ALL-TIME with a squeeze of 122 kilograms. Now THAT’S a firm handshake! It’s a shame Dave never gave football a try. With his size and agility I’m sure he would have had a lucrative pro career as an Offensive Guard in the NFL.

I only wish Dave would have planned his vacation so he could have made it to today’s Dino Grip Challenge. He would have been a MAJOR FORCE in the gifted lineup of grip-masters that are entered in this meet. Hopefully, the USAWA will see more of Dave Brown in the future.

Dino Gym Challenge

The Arthur Saxon Pentathlon

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom demonstrates how to do a 258# Arthur Lift. (And YES - That's the bar going UP the back)

Chad Ullom captured his third straight overall best lifter title this past weekend at the Dino Gym Challenge, by winning this year’s Arthur Saxon Pentathlon. Chad showed complete dominance in all of Arthur’s lifts, demonstrating flexibility that most lifters lack. He put up big marks in the One Arm Dumbbell Swing (150 pounds) and the Arthur Lift (258 pounds). An exhibition lift, which I called the Plank Lift, was the last lift of the meet and despite Chad’s dominance in the previous four lifts when meets include a lift like this, in which a large amount of weight can be lifted compared to the other lifts, things are never “in the bag” until the meet is over. I had the disadvantage of being before Chad “in the order of call” so he used good strategy in matching my attempts in the Plank Lift. I tried to “put the pressure on him” by calling for 2050# for my last attempt, but it is only good strategy if you get the lift! That was just a little over my strength abilities, but making a small jump wasn’t going to overtake him. Congratulations Chad on the win!! Dave Glasgow made his USAWA debut in this meet, and looked and lifted like a veteran. Dave has been around the iron game a long time, and has been one of the top Highland Games throwers in the country in his age class for several years. Dave is very athletic and had no problems with the lifts in this difficult meet. I was very impressed with his Two Hands Anyhow, when he went “old school” and did the lift with two KETTLEBELLS. My father-in-law Rudy Bletscher came in fourth. Rudy really enjoys competing against guys much younger than him, and constantly surprises me when he puts up a great mark in a lift he never tried before. Most guys his age could not even come close to doing a Bent Press, but he managed to post a successful lift in this extremely difficult lift. We held to the TRUE RULES of the Bent Press and did not allow any side press. That is the reason our Bent Press poundages are not as high as you would expect. When you are not very proficient at the Bent Press it is very easy to CHEAT and try to side press the weight – but we held TRUE and performed the Bent Press the proper way. Arthur Saxon would have been proud of us (but probably amused by all of our obvious lack of ability in this lift compared to him!). Darren Barnhart was a surprise entry for me. Darren is a “regular” at the Dino Gym and just showed up to the gym to help judge and load, but I persuaded him into competing. Darren is a real trooper and gave all the lifts a try despite his lack of training them or even seeing them done before! This is the main ingredient in what it takes to be an All-Rounder – no fear of any lift. I was extremely impressed by Darren and his effort he put forth in this meet – he “almost” had a record in the Arthur Lift at 203#, and after struggling to get the bar to his shoulders which required much exertion he “double pumped” his Jerk, causing him to get red lighted. These are the red lights that are the hardest to give – but as an official you have to “call it like it is”. I hope Darren will come to my record day in February and get that record – he is more than capable of it.

Dave Glasgow and his 150# Two Hands Anyhow using a pair of heavy Kettlebells.

I was very happy that I had five participants in this meet. I knew that the lifts I selected were probably not anyone’s favorites, and was prepared for a low turnout. But part of the excitement of All-Round Weightlifting is trying new things, and learning how to do some of the lifts that the Old-Time Weightlifters performed. I want to thank everyone who showed up to participate. I also want to thank Wilbur Miller for AGAIN coming to my meet to help out and give encouragement. Wilbur is a true inspiration and lifting hero to us at the Dino Gym! Wilbur was entering All-Round Weightlifting Meets as far back as the early 1960’s, when hardly anyone competed in the All-Rounds and there was no USAWA. Lifters like him are the reason we have All-Round Weightlifting today – so we need to give credit where credit is due. Thanks Wilbur for everything you have done for our sport!

Afterwards, my wife Leslie prepared a huge German Feast for everyone. I figured since we were celebrating the lifting of Arthur Saxon – this would only seem appropriate. Lots of Brats, Kraut and German Potato Salad was consumed!!! A few of us even celebrated with some German Dark Beer (Warsteiners) afterwards!! A day like this doesn’t happen every day so we made the most of it. When we finished eating, I “challenged” the group to consuming an Arthur Saxon Health Drink, which Arthur would drink every morning to start the day. It consists of one Dark Beer, 2 shots Gin, one raw egg, and 2 big spoons of sugar. Of course, Chad “jumped” right on this challenge with Dave not far behind! We again “toasted” to Arthur and the great fun that was had by all.

Toasting to Arthur Saxon with a Saxon Health Drink

2010 Dino Challenge Group Picture Front Row (left to right): Chad Ullom, Al Myers Back Row (left to Right): Darren Barnhart, Wilbur Miller, Dave Glasgow, Rudy Bletscher

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Challenge
Arthur Saxon Pentathlon
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
January 16th, 2010

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (1 official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom, and Darren Barnhart

Lifts:  Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Bent Press – With Bar, Two Hands Anyhow, Arthur Lift, and Plank Support (Foot Press)

Results:

Lifter Age
BWT Swing Bent Anyhow Arthur Foot Total Points
Chad Ullom
38 236 150 R
85 R
220 258 1450 2163 1767.39
Al Myers
43 257 140 R
75 R
180 132 1450 1977 1608.88
Dave Glasgow
56 257 95 R
85 L
150 132 1050 1512 1384.27
Rudy Bletscher
74 219 60 R
30 R
90 45 850 1075 1233.42
Darren Barnhart
42 296 110 R
75 R
160 132 1050 1527 1148.78


All lifts recorded in pounds. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.

The Arthur Saxon Pentathlon

by Al Myers

The most famous picture of Arthur Saxon - performing a Two Hands Anyhow.

Don’t forget this coming weekend the Dino Gym is presenting the Arthur Saxon Pentathlon.  This meet was designed to honor the great German weightlifter, Arthur Saxon.  I have always respected the great lifts of Saxon – he was well-rounded with his lifting ability and showed the world that you could be athletic and still a great weightlifter.  He performed with his brothers, Kurt and Hermann, making up the Saxon Trio.  Their strongman act was based on weightlifting, and not gimmicky stunts which a lot of their contemporaries performed in their shows at the time.  For this meet I selected Five of Arthur Saxon’s best lifts in setting up this challenge.  A couple of them are difficult to perform, and aren’t contested very often in the USAWA, so this will give everyone a chance to do something different.  These are the five lifts and Saxon’s best mark in them:

Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm     187 pounds
Bent Press – with bar                371 pounds
Two Hands Anyhow                  448 pounds
Arthur Lift                                386 pounds
Plank Support                          3200 pounds

Arthur Saxon was 5′10″ and weighed around 210 pounds at his prime.

I haven’t had a Quiz of the Week for a while now – so here is a question.

What was Arthur Saxon’s real name?

The winner will receive a USAWA patch. Rules: First correct answer emailed to me wins, and only one answer per day.

Dave Glasgow of Winfield, Kansas has already provided the correct answer to the Quiz, with Saxon’s given name being Arthur Hennig. Dave is a seasoned Highland Game athlete and is entering his first All-Round Weightlifting Meet this weekend, at the Arthur Saxon Pentathlon. Welcome Dave to the All-Rounds!!

The Dino Gym’s Replica of the Apollon Wheels

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's Apollon Wheels Replica

The Apollon Wheels have a mythical attraction to them.  What makes a better Challenge Barbell than TRAIN WHEELS!   I have  heard  the stories of Louis Uni (Apollon) lifting these giant  Train Wheels is his performances, and can only imagine how impressive he must have looked doing it. I only wish there were some pictures of him lifting them!!

Several people have made replicas of the Apollon Wheels (AW).  I have seen lots of pictures of them. What I don’t understand is why most replicas don’t resemble the original Apollon Wheels in the slightest.  Just look at the pictures of them and you will see what I am saying.  Most have rims that are way wider than the original Apollon Wheels. The hub design is not even remotely the same with some. Some replicas are plated with shiny chrome. The spokes are even turned wrong in some!  Sometimes I question whether they even used the original’s AW measurements! Most replicas that have been made look much bigger than the original AW.

I have wanted to undertake this project for quite some time – ever since I read in MILO several years ago (September 2004) an article  about the Hollie Brothers  and their quest in making an Apollon Wheel replica. They did it right, and tried to make a replica as close to the original as possible.  I had decided then, that when I took on this project, that would be my goal also.  Several design issues immediately became a problem.  First, only a “handful” of measurements have been recorded for the original AW and published. I read all the resources and tried to use what I considered the most accurate information.   I have several pictures of the original AW – and had to extrapolate from these pictures  and estimate some measurements – like the length of the gussets and width and diameter of the hub.  The one thing I did NOT want to be the same with my replica as the original AW was the weight.  The original AW weighed 366# (or 365# as some sources report).  I did not want to make it that heavy.  I don’t need any more heavy doorstops!  I wanted to make a replica that I could lift and train with!  So I decided my design weight goal would be around 250 pounds. The final weight of my AW replica turned out to be 240 pounds – which is ideal.

This project turned out to be a big success.  I was very pleased how my Apollon Wheels Replica turned out.  It’s nice to have something like this in the gym – when new lifters join their eyes are immediately drawn to this huge 2″ bar containing railroad car wheels as the plates.  It’s at that time I ask, “Have you heard the story about Apollon and his Challenge Barbell?”

Challenge Barbells

by Al Myers

John Conner, of the Dino Gym, lifts the Dino Gym's Challenge Barbell. This Challenge Barbell weighs 585 pounds and has a 2.5" diameter handle. When John did this - he deadlifted it for three reps!!

Every gym or club should have a Challenge Barbell.  There is nothing as inviting as a heavy, already fix-loaded barbell that just sits in the corner of a gym just daring someone to lift it!  The lifting of a Challenge Barbell becomes an issue of pride among gym members – everyone wants to be part of “the list” of those who have succeeded. It gives great motivation to those who haven’t yet – and inspires their training to keep improving, until the day comes when they are successful in lifting the Challenge Barbell.  The overwhelming sense of accomplishment is felt when a Challenge Barbell is lifted – knowing that you have have overcome the challenge laid out in front of you.

Most Old Time Strongmen had some sort of Challenge Barbell or Challenge Dumbbell that they would use in their show acts. It usually was specifically made to emphasize their strength in a particular lift. They would flaunt this Challenge to other strongmen – and when others would fail with it give themselves a “pat on the back” and proclaim themselves as the strongest!!  Often these Challenge Barbells would be made in a way that made them difficult to lift without practice on them – thus giving the owner a tremendous advantage. Most Challenge Barbells were poorly balanced, or had hand spacings that weren’t optimal for other lifters.

I am going to be doing stories about several Challenge Barbells of famous Old Time Strongmen over the next few weeks. If anyone has a Challenge Barbell in their gym or club, please send me the details and I will run the story of it right here, in the USAWA Daily News.

Barrel Pressing

by George Jowett

Matt Tyler, of the Dino Gym, pressing a 205 pound keg (the modern version of a barrel) overhead for reps in a recent workout.

As I have remarked in this book, barrel lifting was very popular with the old-time strength athletes. For developing the fingers, hands, wrists and arms, there is nothing any better. Apart from this, barrel lifting is great for general body building. Of course, a barrel is not the handiest thing in the world to have around the house, but if a person is sincere in his search for great strength and muscular development he will always find a way to practice .

The difficulty lies in getting the barrel to the shoulder, therefore it is very necessary that the exercise be first practiced with a small nail keg or an empty regular-sized barrel. If you employ a regular-sized barrel you will find it easier to manipulate it if you will pull the barrel in close to the body, then back, and thus aid in the upward movement by allowing the barrel to roll up the body to the shoulders. From this point push the barrel to arm’s length overhead. This, in addition to developing great strength, will teach you equilibrium in lifting objects overhead as nothing else will.

Credit: Molding a Mighty Grip by George Jowett

More Coverage of the Dino Days

by Al Myers

GROUP PICTURE

NAHA Nationals – Class Winners

Lightweight    Justin Cantwell, Kansas City
Middleweight – Mark Wechter, Oregon
Heavyweight – Matt Vincent, Louisiana
Masters – John O’Brien, Missouri

Part of this past weekend Dino Days activities involved hosting the 2009 NAHA Nationals. NAHA stands for North American Highlander Association. This organization offers competitions that are a cross between Highland Games and Strongman Competitions, in which events are selected from both.   It was well attended with 22 athletes competing.  We had great weather and I think everyone had a great time!!  The Dino Gym had several gym members competing – Chad Ullom, Ryan Batchman, Matt Tyler, Jesse Landes,  and Darren Barnhart.

NAHA is possible because of the efforts of D.J. Satterfield and Richard “Vince” Vincent. These two guys are “for the athletes” and do everything possible to make sure that their competitions are fun and well ran.  Elite Nutrition was the official sponsor of this event, and among many things, provided $1000 in CASH as prize money!!!   I also need to thank fellow gym member, training partner, and Kansas NAHA State Chairman Scott Tully – he was the “man behind the scenes” that made this whole event happen!!!

For full event coverage – Check out the NAHA Website